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Wii Fit Under Scrutiny

clock January 7, 2009 11:07 by author WiiBBG

Back in July last year I blogged about a study by the American Council on Exercise to measure the potential fitness benefits of Wii Sports. As I said back then, the results of the study weren’t earth shattering - yes, playing Wii Sports is better for you than simply sitting on the couch. As this study was done prior to the launch of Wii Fit, I mentioned back then that a similar study on Wii Fit would be interesting.

Later this year our questions regarding the effectiveness of Wii Fit may be answered scientifically when the results of a study by the University of Mississippi are finally published. The six month study which started last fall is tracking eight families who have been loaned Nintendo Wiis and will be evaluated for fitness, physical activity and body composition. The effectiveness of Wii Fit itself will be determined by comparing results taken in the first three months without Wii Fit in the home to the last three months with Wii Fit in the home.

It's a bit difficult to assess the study without having the exact details behind it and the results could vary significantly depending on numerous factors. If during the three months with the Wii Fit, the families are given specific strict training routines to follow then I would expect to see some improvements in overall activity and balance (maybe even body composition if diet is involved). If however the families are simply given the console and left to their own devices, the results may not be that great and that wouldn’t really surprise me. I've always maintained that Wii Fit was never intended to be a proper fitness tool, but rather a way to market the Wii Balance Board and create opportunities for third-party developers.

Case in point would be EA Games with their forthcoming EA Sports Active title scheduled for release in May. Now this is shaping up to be a full-blown fitness tool and EA is going all out to promote it with endorsements from fitness pros Bob Greene and Carmen Bott. Personally, I'm less interested in the results of the Mississippi Uni study and more interested to see what users have to say once this title is released. Could it be the Wii exergame we've all been waiting for?

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EA Sports Active Revealed

clock November 13, 2008 10:48 by author WiiBBG

There have been rumours for several months regarding EA Games' alternative to Wii Fit. Back in July this year, the game dubbed by some as EA Fitness, was expected to be revealed at E3 but turned out to be a no-show. Then more rumours emerged regarding the possibility of EA using a new periperal for the game with no real mention of the Wii Balance Board. Finally, in an interview with Gamespot Australia, EA President Peter Moore spilled the beans on EA Sports Active and I have to say it sounds pretty good.

Let's face it, Wii Fit is a great introduction to the potential of the Wii Balance Board. It has some fun mini games and some basic exercises but it's far from being a real fitness tool. Exercises are quite limited and there's no real progression or the ability to customize your workout. Plus it uses BMI which makes small children cry and parents fume at the thought of their kids being told they're obsese. But, credit where credit is due, Wii Fit has brought the benefits of exergaming to the masses and put balance boards in millions of homes, creating a market that's just ripe for the picking. Enter EA games.

So, let's get one thing clear from the off. EA Sports Active WILL make use of the wiiboard although its use is not required. Instead, EA are focussing more on their new peripheral which is not really a new peripheral but simply a neoprene device that will allow you to strap the wiimote/nunchuck to your arm or leg. Moore did however say "if you have one [wii balance board], we've got enough exercises in there that you'll want to put it in front of the TV and use it". So if your wiiboard has been gathering dust there'll be no more excuses once this title is released.

Here's a summary of top features:

  • True one-to-one motion. Your onscreen character will move with you, tracking both upper and lower body movement.
  • Multiplayer support so you can exercise with a partner.
  • Includes a resistance band to increase workout intensity and a nutrition guide.
  • Includes a personal trainer who will work out new daily exercise programs or you can create your own custom workouts.
  • Tracks calories burned in real-time.
  • Over 20 exercises and activities.
  • Regular software updates.

Expect to see a lot more on this game in coming months as I suspect that EA is really going to push it. No doubt Oprah will be featuring it soon on her show as it's endorsed by Bob Greene, her personal trainer. There's also mention of future targeted releases such as EA Sports Active Abs and EA Sports Soccer so this is just the beginning of EA's push into exergaming.

To read the full interview with Peter Moore and to view a short preview video visit GamesSpot Australia.

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