When I was a kid there were many occasions when a game was released and I was completely consumed. Crash Banidcoot, Doom, Golden Eye, SSX Tricky all took me for a ride and I spent many a weekend slumped in front of the TV wiggling a thumb stick and tapping X.
Between my teens and early twenties I stepped away from gaming, not because I didn’t love it but because I loved sports and fitness more. I love to move. Sitting longer than twenty minutes and I get grouchy, irritable, I want to be on my feet! I knew that one day these two worlds would collide, the gamification of fitness.
The mid-late 2000’s saw the Playstation Eye Toy Wii Fit come and go with no significant and certainly no long lasting impact. The issue I saw was the lack of an online network, a community. Sure, you go to a gym to get fit but we also go to catch up with pals and there’s plenty to be said for having a training partner.
Zwift was one of the first to nudge the fitness community towards gaming with said community at the forefront of its product. Zwift takes indoor cycling, mixes in a little competition and all the functionality a legitimate two wheeled athlete looks for to create an online virtual platform. We’ve spoken to Zwift and a Beta VR version of the platform is under construction, they’re embracing VR and we can’t wait to see what they produce! But a release date isn’t set yet.
We’ve also stumbled across HOLOFIT. A VR Fitness platform that gives you the ability to travel through the world like you’ve never seen it before. You can find yourself rowing through the Icy mountains of antarctica or even drifting through the tropics in an open top canoe all in the comfort of your own home.
VirZoom sees users capturing bandits by lasso, cycle Le Tour and drift through a duck pond with a panda using the power of your legs on a stationary bike. All with the added benefit of heart rate monitors and built in controls. VirZOOM look to have these set ups in commercial gyms in the near future but before then you can get yours for as little as $400.
With experiences like these popping up we weren’t surprised to find a heavy hitter in the fitness industry expressing interest in VR. From the team at BodyBuilding.com, the world’s largest online supplement retailer Black Box VR is the world’s first full-fitness VR gym experience. With a mission statement that centres around bringing VR into the average gym goers workout it’s only a matter of time before your so captivated by the environment you’re working out in, you’ll forget you’re working out!
There’s many more VR fitness ventures out there, quietly developing a new era of the average gym session. If you want to keep up with VR fitness news head to VR Fitness Insider and watch this space!