How VR games are the future of fitness
Priya Wadhwa
10X Technology

How VR games are the future of fitness

Back to the future of games

Fitness is of paramount importance to a healthy life. As children, playtime was synonymous with being outdoors, mostly in a garden playing games with friends. Even adults used to indulge in cricket, golf or other sports depending on which part of the world they were from and where they were living.

Today, however, the reality is different. It’s not necessarily the lack of community spaces to play, but the shift in culture towards online gaming. Naturally, this has seen obesity rates increase across the world. After all, who likes to go to the gym after a long day at work? It’s a chore rather than a passion for most people.

So while our social lives have moved from the gardens to the screens at home, fitness has become boring. And even though Virtual Reality (VR) games have the power to make fitness more interesting and fun, they haven’t been adopted by most fitness studios across the world.

The core offering and communication of fitness studios even today is about losing weight, becoming fit, looking good, and being healthier overall. They usually focus on the end result, moving past the strenuous and boring journey to reach fitness goals.

That is the problem wherein opportunities lie.

Albeit virtual reality is still in its nascency, with heavy and (relatively) uncomfortable headgears, limited games in select genres such as boxing and archery, and limited range of supporting tech that allows people to run and move without fearing a head-first bang into the wall, there is a growing niche in the market for VR fitness. In fact, in the MENA region, it has the potential to become a differentiating factor.

VR gear is still relatively expensive for individuals, but for fitness studios they can be a valuable investment that they can recover quite quickly. Gears such as Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift, the leaders in the space, are available for a few thousand dirhams. There are also a number of VR fitness games that are available in the market, especially in the field of boxing, such as The Thrill of the Fight by Ian Fitz and Knockout League by Grab Games.

Imagine selling nostalgia of playing with friends during the summer in a world that mimics childhood playgrounds, or an alternative experience of games on a planet we are yet to discover. Let your imagination run wild. Think about Marvel and how its fantasy worlds, storylines and characters draw the attention of audience.

The worldwide spend on gaming is increasing by 9.6% year-on-year. Institutions like the Dubai Internet City are already investing in bringing players from the gaming industry to Dubai, in order to develop the country’s sector. The potential of the gaming industry goes beyond the home sphere.

When it comes to investments in the technology, there are two major ways to go about it: the development of technology that supports physical actions in the game being played out in the real world, and the games themselves. Currently, both are limited as they’ve been catering to a niche segment of people.

This is likely to grow with the maturing market. The question is, how will you capture the market segment and hop on the ride for growth?