Cyber sports – ever better than the real thing?

Gauthier Befahy
Gauthier has been active in the IT field for over 10 years. Currently working for Scademy Ltd, He oversees global Sales and Marketing.

OPINION – Let’s confess it: while going to fitness clubs has its serious advantages, it has its disadvantages as well. First they aren’t cheap at all, second staying there consumes time, while you are away from home and family, and finally you might be a little shy besides a guy who is pumped up like Daniel Craig in the latest James Bond movie. Also, it might be possible that you like to do gym on your pace. Well, that’s where the last generation gaming consoles, with movement recognition technology, are all coming in…


While there are already several gaming consoles which are using this kind of technology, the basic idea behind each of them is the same: while a camera is watching you, the console is analyzing your movements in real time, and corrects you all the time, or congratulates you if you are doing good. In the TV you can see yourself and your virtual trainer besides you, and thus you can adjust your movements. Well that’s the basic idea let’s see what’s the difference between the consoles, which are offering this new technology?


Wii will Wii will slender U?

The first gym software which used movement recognition technology appeared on the older Nintendo Wii in 2010. “Your shape” was sold with a camera which mirrored you on the TV with the virtual trainer besides your mirror image. While this kind of technology could only follow your movements in two dimensions because of the limitation of its technology, actually the real problem resided in the range of exercises which weren’t specific enough and proposed an enormous amount of jumping sessions.

If you ignore the sore knee joints, there is still the problem of the angry neighbor living under your flat… Well, if you still want to stick to Nintendo, try out the latest console “Wii U”, with the well “matured” Your Shape software instead which is a lot more advanced, with tons of specific exercises and touchscreen controller proposing and easy to use interface. The only problem this time around, is that you have to make the exercises with the other, smaller controller in hand, which can be bothersome for some people…


Get yourself Kinected?

In winter 2010 the Kinect for Xbox 360 was touted as a revolutionary technology, which will conquer the heart of all gamers, but actually it utterly failed as a serious gaming device. The basic idea behind Kinect technology is that it can track and recognize your whole body, your movements, your voice, and even your face, but it was hardly ever used in real (“hardcore”) games for the gaming enthusiasts. In fact, while we can’t mention any really good game for Kinect, it has tons of excellent gym or virtual sport software.

The best of them are still from the Your Shape software series: Your Shape Fitness Evolved (YSFE) and YSFE 2012. The Kinect camera tracks your movements in real 3D and you can specifically work on any area of your body which you want to strengthen.YSFE 2012 is also pretty fun, with several games, martial arts, yoga and dance programs. In fact, if you like to have fun while still moving and strengthen your body, there are several other virtual sport software for Kinect out there as well, with which you can try your hand at the Olympic games, tennis, skiing, boxing or even dancing.

Read or watch the reviews about them though, because some of these games are pretty bad, and your enthusiasm can quickly lead to frustration when you use a bad Kinect recognition software.

MOVE your body!

Of course besides Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony also jumped on the movement recognition bandwagon with the “PlayStation Move” for PS3. While with Microsoft Kinect you don’t need any device in your hand, with Playstation Move you have to use at least one, or sometimes even two – rather funny looking – controlling devices.

Is this worth the effort and your money? Well, while unfortunately there isn’t any “Your Shape” on PlayStation 3, there are other similar gym programs, and the virtual sport software on PS3 is especially good. With Sport Champions 2 you can immerse yourself in the best boxing, skiing or tennis simulation on consoles, and while having a big amount of fun, you will quickly lose weight without noticing, that you actually did some pretty solid exercises.

Does it worth it? And which one to choose?

If you don’t like to play games at all, but still consider buying a device for your gymnastic needs, then investing in one of those consoles might be a good idea. Sure it still doesn’t substitute a professional personal trainer, but we are getting closer and closer to it… Who knows, one day, even professional fitness trainers will use that kind of software…