Wii Fit reminds me of most of my gym memberships in that they both cost money, and I’m not using either one of them. Wii Fit is the ultimate pipe dream. Combining exercise and video games sounded like a great idea, but several limitations made boredom/laziness set in quickly. Problems with Wii Fit included: using strange metrics like BMI to measure your progress, having to “unlock” workouts by playing for a significant amount of time, using a “mini-game” setup instead of setting up specific workout routines, lack of any significant cooperative mode, and the nagging sensation that, other than the hula hoop game, you weren’t really getting a workout. Not to mention, the only way to get it seemed like picking it up after it “fell out the back of a truck.”
Even with all its shortcomings, Nintendo was obviously on the right track (Wii fit has sold more than 2.3 million copies in the US). So EA Sports has stepped in with Active to fill up the recently discovered massive exercise-themed video games market.
While Wii Fit provided an “Eastern” workout experience, Active is being touted as a “Western” exercise bonanza. Instead of a balance board, Active will ship with an elastic band for strength training, and a leg strap which you use to attach the wii-mote or nunchuck to your thigh. The leg strap is used to track your lower limb movements and provide feedback such as telling you if you are doing squats correctly. In addition, if you already own a Wii Fit there will be options to use the balance board in some of the workouts.
Various features of Active touted by EA include: Customizable workout “playlists,” no “unlocking” (all workouts are available immediately), concrete “wellness advice,” a game-generated custom 30-day workout, tracking of calorie’s burned, extensive in-game soundtrack with customizable playlist creation for your workouts, and a better price point ($59.99 vs. $89.99).
Overall the product looks promising. The core demographic is 30-something mothers (which this author doesn’t exactly fit into). But I look forward to sweating it up “Western” style in my apartment in Q2 2009.
Read the interview here
Read the press release here…