Thursday, July 16, 2009

A cup of coffee and some exergaming in South Korea

Five years ago I was in the lead of a research project titled Exergame at the Technical Research Centre of Finland. Back then we estimated that exergames will become a big business within the next 5 years. Our guessing came true. Nintendo Wii is one of the most exposed example of it. Then again I would say that Wii is just a start. I am expecting to see more exergame innovations appearing especially for mobile terminals. Smart phones and iPhone has changed the idea of a cellular phone and with cheaper components phone manufacturers can integrate gyroscopes and measument techniques into portable devices. Naturally things will also evolve in pc and console gaming. Sony and Microsoft (Natal) are behind Nintendo but still already far away in developing their own motion control solutions for games.

Within the last few days exergaming has been on the headlines around the world. In Finland playful Move and Play exhibition is currently on at Heureka science center in Vantaa, Korean Arirang today tv show had an interesting story on Xergames (click the link & register to see the video starting at 40:45). Additionally Nintendo will launch Wii Sports Resort shortly (at Times Square in NY). I also received a press release claiming that: "Kids as young as three years old are picking up the joysticks and clicking away at computers, especially if they have older siblings whom they wish to emulate. It's important to catch kids at an early age to teach them about fitness". My Gym promotes children's fitness centres in the US and provides information regarding nutrition and everyday exercise. Basically My Gym and exergames have the same goal and somewhat similar means to reach the goal -- being: positive feedback, easy access, casual exercise, playful and fun context, self-acting state, instant feedback and measuring performance.

I am happy to be a part (or additional power behind the scenes) of a R&D project focusing on novel exergame solutions. The project is run by MoFun (the creator of Circus game) and Technical Research Centre of Finland. I also heard that social gaming initiative is about to start in Finland. Even though it focuses more on social gaming for adults than actual fitness gaming or exergaming -- I am sure you cannot 100% separate those from each other. I will write more about the initiative as soon as it is up and running.

5 comments:

jpetteril said...

Exergaming needs a homebase in Finland. A party that would promote the concept, apply funding and spread the word. Nuori Suomi could be the one but there seems to be no real interest at the moment. Too bad. Schools are super interested and promo visits should be done in a large scale. Since the burrial of the Ubergames NS could have overtaken the promo part of the business and with a propar parner the selling part as well.

SonjaK said...

Yep -- it is a pity we don't have any company or association pushing exergaming forward. I will continue speaking about it, hopefully some association or other party will wake up ;)

SonjaK said...

Kotaku has an article on this topic as well: http://kotaku.com/5319153/have-we-reached-exercise-game-saturation?skyline=true&s=i

Taz said...

Hi Sonja,

I've been meaning to write to you for quite some time as I've been following Techsoup for a few years now. Our company Exergaming Finland has been up and going since early 2007 and a Oy since march 2008. We are trying very hard to get our portable, delivered version of Exergaming direct to Kindergartens in our Saturday Playgroups. Please have a look at our website: www.exergamingfinland.com to see what we are up to :) Brett Young, founder of Exg Finland.

SonjaK said...

Oh brilliant! I hope Exergaming Finland will take the lead in exergaming issues in Finland :)

There seems to be lots of interest towards exergaming but not enough / clear enough information how to get involved, where to start exergaming etc. I think Arirang tv-report was really good. I liked to Japanese concept of exergaming cafes.