Wii fitness games are missing an essential piece

Fitness games have gone from being an occasional oddity to a league of their own.  There are over a dozen fitness games for the Wii, and researchers are just beginning to study how they can be used to help people lose weight and improve their health.

These games offer cardio, strength and flexibility exercises, track your workouts, give you rotations, record calories burned and give nutritional advice and motivational tips.  If you have a Wii Fit balance board, you can weigh yourself and (hopefully) watch your avatar slim down along with your real body.  Yet none of these games – so far – offer any online support.

This is a serious flaw, and I can’t understand how they can leave this out of a $40+ game.  Many people have broadband at home, and the Wii console’s Internet capability is one of its best features, something that separates a 21st century machine from a 20th century one.  With an Internet connection, you can get news and weather on your Wii, surf the Web with the free browser, download games, watch game trailers and send messages to other Wii owners.  Many games let you play against others online or download new features and updates, and many gamers nowadays practically expect DLC (downloadable content).

With online capability, fitness games could offer much-needed support to people trying to lose weight or stick with an exercise program.    Wii exergamers could have online workout buddies, get together in groups (over-40, parents, 100+ pounds to lose, etc.), compete in challenges or get advice from fitness pros without stepping off the board or mat.  Support and accountability are essential in keeping exercisers motivated to not only lose weight and become fitter, but keep the weight off and make exercise and healthy eating lifetime habits.  So why don’t the fitness games offer this, even the Nintendo-made ones?  Even the Wii DDR games are offline, unlike their PS2 and Xbox counterparts where you could compete online and download songs.

Nintendo, and game developers, stop treating exergames like it’s 1999.  Put them online.

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Posted on February 15, 2010, in Exergaming, Just sayin', Weight loss and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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