Xbox, Wii fitness go head-to-head
On Sept. 30, Nintendo announced that it will release “Wii Fit U,” the third game in the “Wii Fit” series that will be exclusively sold for the “Wii U.” Users of “Wii Fit” or “Wii Fit Plus” will be happy to hear their “Wii Balance Board” is compatible with the “Wii U,” and can purchase an optional accessory called the “Fit Meter,” which tracks activity levels throughout the day.
The “Fit Meter” can record data such as steps, jogging time/speed, and estimated caloric expenditure while moving around throughout the day. The information recorded by the “Fit Meter” can then be synced with “Wii Fit U” the next time the game is played.
This announcement from Nintendo comes three days after Microsoft announced the upcoming release of “Xbox Fitness,” a new fitness game that will be available for their next generation gaming console, “Xbox One.”
Unlike the “Wii Fit” games that utilized a virtual trainer and the Wii balance board, “Xbox Fitness” will use real trainers alongside “Kinect” to help people get into shape.
Trainers for “Xbox Fitness” will include Jillian Michaels, Tracy Anderson, “Insanity” coach Shaun T and “P90X” coach Tony Horton. Wait, where’s Richard Simmons?
The “Kinect” camera will assess participants’ muscle engagement, balance, tempo, form, and heart rate as they workout with one of the games celebrity trainers, but Microsoft representatives have not announced how the technology gauges these fitness measurables.
Like the “Wii Fit” games, “Xbox Fitness” will create personalized workout programs for each user based on their history and past performance. It will also accommodate any schedule with workouts that last anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes.
Both Nintendo and Microsoft will offer gamers to download demos of both games before they purchase them, however, Xbox users looking to add workout regimens will have to buy additional content that is scheduled to be available through the “Xbox Fitness Pass” beginning in 2015.
I’m not advocating for one game over the other, but I can already envision the commercials that will attempt to influence people to believe playing these games will lead to significant fitness gains and weight loss outcomes.
Well, according to the latest scientific research, fitness-based video games can be a useful tool when attempting to shed those unwanted inches.
A recent study published in “The British Journal of Occupational Therapy,” scientists found research subjects who played the “Wii Fit” game for one hour per day, five days per week for 12 weeks, and ate a healthier diet experienced significant declines in body weight and increased motivation to exercise.
So I’m not saying these upcoming fitness games won’t be useful for those seeking a healthier lifestyle, but I would just hope they can transition from running laps on their “Wii Fitness Board” to running laps with their family around the neighborhood.
But seriously, Microsoft made a fitness game using celebrity trainers and they didn’t include Richard Simmons? That’s like having the first pick in an NFL fantasy draft and not taking Adrian Peterson.