PowerBeatsVR is building a virtual reality fitness game from the ground up, based on some familiar concepts. AudioShield, BeatSaber, and BoxVR all take a rhythmic approach with room-scale capabilities. PowerBeatsVR will have gamers rocking their way through tons of game modes and maps for a diverse workout.
Virtual and Augmented Reality is already shaping personal fitness. We see it here at VRFI weekly. VR leads to new fitness experiences, and wearable technology creates data we can use to evaluate our workouts.
Will virtual trainers be the norm someday? It’s certainly possible, but games like PowerBeatsVR offer those future possibilities now.
PowerBeatsVR and Fitness
Gamification is already an important trend in contemporary fitness. Players are using specialized sports equipment and tracking data with apps that feature leaderboards. Again, this increases motivation for continued exercise, positive “addictive potential”, and shifts the focus from exertion to fun. In the future, VR will be part of a suite of tools used to analyze and correct the player for a safer exercise in any environment, using sensors that are already in place.
BoxVR already design personalized fitness routines designed to reinforce correct posture and stance. Other examples include games based on dancing, Yoga, or martial arts. Those visual environments provide an escape for players, many of whom won’t follow through with the usual repetitive training regiment. Even if the goal was ambitious like climbing Mount Everest, external motivators sometimes can’t compete with the body’s lack of motivation.
PowerBeatsVR overcomes this hurdle within its 2×2 meters of room scale, including a height of 2 meters. You will be getting an intense, full-body workout while completely immersed in that space. The game’s multiple modes are designed to improve motivation and provide something new every session.
Players will use different objects for both attack and defense, like hammers and shields, which adds depth and challenges to the experience. In one scenario, you’ll need to storm medieval castles and dodge or deflect incoming obstacles, testing ambidextrousness and pushing the body to its limits.
Current Status and Roadmap
PowerBeatsVR should see a release in the first quarter of 2019, and it will be available on every major platform except for PSVR. The game requires room-scale tracking, but it’s working on a version for the upcoming standalone headset: Oculus Quest.
The team is currently optimizing PowerBeatsVR for release, integrating environments and balancing the various game modes.
VR Fitness is a unique opportunity to reach people who would not be into the classic fitness routines that we know to show results. With room-scale tracking, players can exercise through these gamified fitness concepts. At FIBO 2018, one PowerBeatsVR player’s mom remarked: “Finally, our son has found something where he exercises voluntarily. And he even had sore muscles!”
The Future of Virtual Reality Fitness
The technical development behind PowerBeatsVR has not yet ended. In fact, the team seems dedicated to releasing a polished product that seeks to push the genre forward. Unlike most in this space, the plans to develop for The Oculus Quest really show an emphasis on fitness.
The Quest is a standalone headset, and perfect for fitness thanks to its unhindered movement.
And the team is counting on that evolution, the idea that our VR headsets and controllers will become less clunky and much lighter, that the computing power will improve and the graphics will become far more realistic.
Maybe someday, we’ll place VR over our eyes like contact lenses. Until then, we’ll need to train our bodies fully with titles like PowerBeatsVR.