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The makers of Guitar Hero really want to get gamers off the couch. Brothers Kai Huang and Charles Huang have teamed with OpenLink founder Coleman Fung to create Blue Goji, a startup focused on “gamifying” fitness.
Guitar Hero, which upended music games with a novel guitar-like controller, made gamers more active and became a multibillion-dollar business for developer RedOctane and publisher Activision. Now the creators of that franchise want to “transform the cardio exercise experience through immersive gameplay.” They plan to track activity toward personal fitness goals and create social workouts with friends.
As such, they’re part of a larger movement afoot to use technology to make people healthier. By making exercise more fun, or “gamifying” it, the proponents of this movement hope to get people more engaged and fit. The White House and the Entertainment Software Association (the video game trade group) recently announced that 20 percent of all games released in 2011 were “active games,” compared to just 5 percent during the period from 2002 to 2007. Fitness games have become a $750 million annual business.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Blue Goji is in stealth mode for now, but it will reveal its products soon.
“Our goal is to help people lead healthier and more active lives by providing anyone across all fitness levels with a fun way to work out — one that is accessible and compelling to use,” said Kai Huang, Blue Goji co-founder and chief executive officer. “With Blue Goji, we’re developing a platform to support a variety of entertainment content that enables people to immerse themselves in their workout routines for a more enjoyable and social experience.”
The company’s products will work together with tablets and smartphones on cardio equipment such as treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical machines.