Guitar Hero creators shift focus to "exergaming" with Goji Play
By Nick Lavars
December 17, 2013
Hoping to build on their success in bringing a marriage of physical movement and arcade action to the mainstream with Guitar Hero, RedOctane co-founders Kai and Charles Huang have formed Blue Goji and are looking to gain a foothold in the rapidly-evolving world of exercise-gaming. Their latest effort, Goji Play, uses two wireless controllers and an activity sensor to turn a regular cardio machine into a makeshift video game platform.
The system includes of an activity sensor that connects to an iOS device via Bluetooth 4.0 and which is clipped to a user's shoes or pocket to monitor their movement. The two controllers each feature two buttons and can be strapped to cardio equipment, such as treadmills, exercise bikes or elliptical machines. Alternatively, they can be wrapped around the foam batons that are included with the system and simply held onto.
Much like other "exergames," Goji Play works on the premise of rewarding physical effort with progress through the game. Integral to the effectiveness of these games is the balance between their immersive qualities and the strenuosity of the physical activity. By honing in on arguably the most monotonous fitness activity of all, the cardio workout, Blue Goji has made a bold statement about their faith in the quality of gameplay.
"What if we could make 30 minutes of exercise feel like ten?" asks Kai Huang. "How could we eliminate the monotony and the boredom of working out on a cardio exercise machine and turn it into a fun and interactive experience?"
Goji Play works through its companion app, which is compatible with iPad 3+, iPad Mini, iPhone 4s+ and iPod Touch 5th Generation. Twelve titles are available at the moment, with the company saying more will be released on a regular basis. Current examples include boxing-style game "Fisticuffs," racing games such as "Moto X" and "Spin and Die," and bash-and-crash inspired "Smash the Blocks."
While playing, the device tracks the user's fitness metrics in real-time, allowing them to keep an eye on performance statistics such as calories burned, distance traveled and time elapsed. In doing so, it rewards them in-game with added power to their punch or more speed through the course. Fitness goals can also be set and progress monitored on a daily, weekly or a monthly basis.
Blue Goji is selling Goji Play for US$99, which gets you the two wireless game controllers, the activity sensor, Micro USB charging cable, wall charger and two foam batons.
The Goji Play system is demonstrated in the promo video below.
Source: Blue Goji