New Report: The Future of Exergaming

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New technologies such as augmented reality are tying consumers' desire for fitness to their love of electronic entertainment.

Having emerged as a new category of videogames, exergaming is spreading from arcade-style standup games to novel applications for portable games and the home game console, according to a recent report by the global research and consulting futurist firm Social Technologies.

The report, by senior futurist Scott Smith, suggests that new technologies such as augmented reality are also allowing the creation of novel, compelling ways to tie consumers' desire for fitness to their love of electronic entertainment.

He says academics, big gaming developers, and fitness experts are taking notice. "Though it began as a new twist on participatory gaming, exergaming is commanding the attention of a broader audience of game developers and consumers, healthcare providers, and even schools as a way of connecting consumers' growing fitness and health problems with their insatiable desire for more challenging and innovative entertainment," Smith explains.

A push for new frontiers in the fitness market, an aging gamer population, and increasing rates of obesity among the young are all fueling the trend toward exergaming, Smith notes.

"While the term 'exergaming' is relatively new, the convergence of fitness and exercise with consumer electronics has been underway for several years," he adds, pointing to products already on the market such as the popular Dance Dance Revolution.

"In the future, we'll see exergaming continue to spread from dedicated devices and systems to mass-market gaming systems. Already Microsoft has developed fitness applications for the popular Xbox platform, and competing game consoles are also looking to bring exergaming into the home," Smith concludes.

Other recent innovations that mark a change in the direction of exergaming include Nintendo's Wii system, which includes a wireless motion-detecting controller that enables gamers to break the tether of wires and become more physically active in game play, swinging a "bat" or "racket" in their living room. Newer accessories for Wii, such as a balance board, appeal to an older demographic who might want to have fun with yoga.

"This is a trend on the rise, and consumers will be the beneficiaries as exergaming merges with mobile devices, becomes wearable, and helps keeps the minds of America's aging population sharp," comments Smith, who suggests businesses take note.

"As users begin to include more women, boomers, and others seeking to fit entertainment into an active lifestyle, major entertainment hardware and software providers such as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Apple are recognizing the value of tying fitness and exercise into their businesses," he says. "Partnerships such as that between Nike and Apple will become increasingly common."

To set up an interview with Scott Smith, send an email to Social Technologies' leader of corporate communications, Hope Gibbs (hope.gibbs@

About ) Scott Smith
Futurist Scott Smith specializes in forecasting consumer uses of technologies. Scott's work focuses on how technology changes lives and lifestyles: how and where we live, learn, communicate, care for ourselves, and spend our playing and working lives. He is a key analyst for S)T's multiclient research programs, Technology Foresight and Global Lifestyles, and manages custom consulting projects for many of the firm's Fortune 500 clients.

About ) Social Technologies
Social Technologies is a global research and consulting firm specializing in the integration of foresight, strategy, and innovation. With offices in Washington, DC, London, and Shanghai, Social Technologies serves the world's leading companies, government agencies, and nonprofits. A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps clients mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making. For more information visit, the blog:, and our newsletter,


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