In April of 2016, an early VR title called Audioshield was released on Steam, the largest PC gaming community in the world. According to Steam stats, gamers have played more than 693,000 hours of Audioshield since its release. A research project at San Francisco State University found that the calorie burn of players in Audioshield is roughly the same as someone running an equivalent time on an elliptical in the gym. At an average of 6.86 calories per minute, Steam players have cumulatively burned more than 152,000,000 calories playing Audioshield, the equivalent of running to the moon and back six times. Another game in the study, a boxing title called Thrill of the Fight, was not only the metabolic equivalent of real-world boxing, but also the equivalent of uphill competitive bike racing, like the Tour De France. And yet, when asked, subjects consistently reported that they felt like they were expending less energy in VR than they actually were. In other words, they were getting the gain of exercise, but not perceiving the pain. The rise of Augmented Exercise (AR or VR assisted exercise) may lead to the gaming community transforming into one of the largest tracked exercise groups in the world – without anyone meaning to. In this talk, we’ll explore some of the emerging trends of exercise in Mixed Reality, including the introduction of VR exercise ratings being published by the VR Health Institute, a series of VR gyms opening in Columbus, Ohio, and the potential impact of a world filled with gamers that are fit almost by accident.
Published on October 11, 2017 by Microsoft Research