EA to Join Wii Fitness Craze

Video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) announced Thursday that it will add to the growing number of fitness games for the Wii with its own entrant, “Sports Active,” set for release in Spring 2009.

Developed in collaboration with Bob Greene, fitness expert and personal trainer for Oprah Winfrey, the fitness game will be the first in a new line of EA Sports-branded fitness and sports performance offerings aimed at users of all ages.

As with all games for the Wii, EA’s fitness software takes advantage of the Wii’s motion-sensing controller.

“If you look at the initial Wii products, most of them don’t give you a good workout. They get you up out of the chair and moving around, but they don’t give you a good workout. There is still a significant opportunity to create a line of offerings that are both fun and really do give you a good workout — something that most folks who bought the Wii were expecting,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, told TechNewsWorld.

Breaking a Sweat

“Sports Active” will include a wide variety of interactive activities presented as virtual circuit training for both upper and lower body as well as cardiovascular workouts, according to EA. The system will support up to two players and also offer on-screen motivation via real-time feedback, such as calories burned.

In addition to the software, the fitness offering also includes two specially-designed leg straps to hold the Wii Nunchuk controller and track lower body movements as well as a resistance band for upper body strength training exercises.

Players will be able to launch their new fitness play by participating in Sports Active’s so-called 30 Day Challenge, what EA calls a “fitness roadmap” to help them reach their goals under the guidance of a virtual trainer. The Challenge offers users a new 20-minute workout every time they exercise. Like a real-world personal trainer, the software provides instructions, feedback on technique and positive encouragement throughout the workout. Each circuit will have different feel, and intensity of the workout will increase as players’ fitness levels improve.

Balance Board on the Table

The game will also allow players to create their own custom workouts with varying levels of activity, duration and intensity. Using the Wii Balance Board is optional but will add functionality to many exercises, according to the publisher.

“It’s a good idea and the perfect platform to put it on,” Enderle commented.

Wii owners can expect to see more game developers releasing fitness-themed games in the future.

“This is the kind of the thing the Wii is uniquely good for. You would expect to see others copy these and EA to even flesh out their offering as well,” he noted.

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