Nintendo's Wii owes at least some of the credit for its big marketshare to the promise of fitness and physical activity through motion controls. Now, a new survey finds that health games can help lead players to do more real-world exercise, too.
The American Heart Association says that 58 percent of people who play "active-play" video games have started a new activity, like jogging or a sport, in the real world since they picked up the game. According to a survey conducted by the Association, 68 percent of fitness gamers say they're more physically active since getting the games.
The Association and Nintendo are collaborating on a messaging initiative
focused on how active play video games can help create health. For Nintendo, the positive spin comes just in time for the holiday season, generally its biggest period for Wii sales -- and one much needed in 2010, after challenges to the popular device's momentum.
The survey also shows a relationship between active-play video games and play with family and friends -- 82 percent say their families get involved more, and contrary to some casual gaming stereotypes, active-play games are more popular among men, who are also more likely than women to involve the family and share the console. Women, however, reported liking these kinds of games more, with staying active at home cited as the primary reason.
"We are looking at active-play video games as part of a realistic approach to fitness," says cardiac rehab director and American Heart Association volunteer Dr. Barry Franklin. " We are finding that they often act as a gateway to other forms of physical activity. So as people get up off the couch to play Wii games, they’re likely to stay up and do more – like walking, jogging or playing tennis."