Earlier this week, Upload reported the story of Tim Donahey. He has become a minor celebrity in the virtual reality community after he posted the results of his 50-day VR exercise challenge to Reddit with the moniker of “Vive Fitness Guy.” Donahey was able to lose about 15 pounds simply by playing a variety of cardio-intensive VR games in his HTC Vive headset while wearing a weighted vest. Encouraged by the results, and the positive response from around the industry, Donahey announced that he’s starting a VR content studio that will create exercise-focused experiences.
“We’re calling it ATG Studios,” Donahey said in an interview with UploadVR. The company consists of four people — Donahey, a cofounder, and two coders — and its headquarters is in Columbus, Ohio. ATG, in this case, stands for “Ass to Grass,” a common term in the personal training community.
Donahey is a certified personal trainer, and his background in fitness is what inspired him to embrace VR in the first place.
“I was rocked by some pretty intense personal tragedy about 10 months ago,” Donahey revealed. “During that time I had no fitness program of my own. The prospect of going to the gym again as a novice was not something that appealed to me so I decided to try and use VR to get back in shape.”
VR’s capability to provide a workout, without requiring anyone to feel self-conscious, is a major reason why Donahey says he is starting ATG Studios.
“I honestly believe that there could be a time when the traditional gamer stereotype of overweight, Cheeto-stained, basement dwellers will be a thing of the past,” Donahey said. “With technology like this it’s completely possible for gamers in the future to be associated as some of the most physically fit specimens out there.”
To this end, ATG studios will be creating variety of VR games designed to increase a player’s heart rate and provide a good workout without every truly feeling like exercise. According to Donahey the goal is to create games that, “you would not know are supposed to be exercise unless somebody told you.”
At this time ATG Studios is only focusing on experiences for the HTC Vive. The first offerings from the new company will begin to be released around Christmas, according to Donahey, although at this time he is remaining tight lipped as to their exact nature.