Sedentary kids are a meaty social problem. Video games tends to exacerbate the situation, causing carpal tunnel and tooshie fatigue. Can WiiFit get these kids off the couch and help them burn a few calories? Dance Dance Revolution made some headway in this area and was even adopted by some school districts as a legitimate form of exercise (see previous post on DDR).
Here’s the blurb from Amazon about WiiFit:
Wii Fit features more than 40 activities and exercises, including strength training, aerobics, yoga, and balance games for play on Nintendo’s Wii. WiiFit will be released on May 19 and requires a Nintendo Wii game console to play.
Because the Wii itself has been such a phenomenal success on multiple levels, it should be a surprise that there is a huge buzz already building about WiiFit. Nintendo (at least I think it is Nintendo) has set up a very legit looking blog up called WiiFit.net that is even modestly self-critical:
The Wii Fit, meanwhile, sells the idea of the video game as a lifestyle solution. If, three years ago, a focus group had been asked whether they thought a video game could improve your memory or help you to lose weight, the answer would have probably been a rather bemused ‘no.’ Before Wii Fit, the idea of a fat-burning video game was an idea as outlandishly utopian as slimming beer or a carpet that reverses ageing.
But like it or not, Nintendo have pulled off an impressive marketing trick – they’ve convinced an entire untapped audience to buy their product, though it remains to be seen whether the nation’s waistlines will improve as a result.
Having worked up a sweat playing the regular Wii, I’m a big fan of this product and the lifestyle they are building around it. They have even created another support site called Wii Healthy that offers all sort of tips to eat and live a Wii bit better. This is quite a stretch for a gaming company but one that should embolden many other marketers.