Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

The Metaverse is not the end, but an addition to the concept of home fitness.

At the end of 2021, Peloton’s stock price plunged, which instantly cooled the concept of home fitness, which coincided with the warming up of the Metaverse, bringing a new story to home fitness.

Things started when Meta (formerly Facebook) released the first fitness Metaverse video – the dazzling VR equipment, the scene of the avatars of family and friends sweating together, seems to strengthen the new direction of family fitness: Gamification of fitness.

At the same time, the fitness industry has seized the high ground in the Metaverse: Nike launched its own Metaverse game Nikeland on Roblox, Les Mills BODYCOMBAT and Supernatural launched VR boxing games on the Quest platform, and Peloton also launched a music rhythm virtual racing car game.

Realistic interaction, emotional connection… The advantage of the Metaverse is precisely the natural disadvantage of home fitness, but is the Metaverse really the ultimate form of home fitness?

Judging from the current fitness content based on interactive entertainment, Metaverse cannot become the future form of home fitness, but a necessary supplement to the current home fitness market.

In 2020, Peloton, Tonal and other companies continued to develop hardware AI interaction, accurate data feedback functions, and multi-category fitness courses, and home fitness has become increasingly specialized. The foreign market is particularly obvious, so that about 70% of the current home fitness service users are people with fitness foundation.

If home fitness technology is trying to restore the gym scene, Metaverse Fitness is more like replicating the game hall.

Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

Source: Supernatural official website

Gamification content allows fitness to enter more families, reduces the fear of fitness for sedentary people, and expands the meaning of home fitness from “fitness at home” to “fitness for the whole family”.

For example, the IP-linked boxing experience class between Keep and The King of Fighters is not yet realized by VR, but it is also in line with the story-based world and character construction of the Metaverse; including Fiture, which jointly launched a forest adventure course for teenagers through IP last year. Elements conducive to parent-child interaction are integrated into the curriculum.

Rather than thinking about whether to enter the Metaverse, family fitness may need to think about how to take into account the social and emotional needs behind the Metaverse game craze on the basis of professional equipment.On the one hand, improving the professionalism of equipment cannot solve the loneliness faced by family fitness. On the other hand, it is difficult to form internal motivation and cultivate the habit of conscious fitness by relying on external incentives such as experience rewards and visual stimulation.

Whether it is to open up the incremental market or increase the user stickiness of professional fitness practitioners, home fitness needs to broaden its horizons beyond fitness. Facing the social and emotional needs of bodybuilders, making up for the atmosphere of the real fitness scene, and combining professionalism with entertainment may be the final form of home fitness.

Through the game track, home fitness meets the Metaverse

The market feedback that home fitness leader Peloton fell below the issue price in the first quarter of this year sounded the alarm for the booming home fitness industry during the epidemic.

With the gradual cancellation of international epidemic prevention and control measures, the dilemma in the field of home fitness has gradually become more prominent. Home fitness has the disadvantage of limited exercise environment and lack of interpersonal interaction. With the resumption of work in most enterprises, the advantage of being able to practice at any time has also been reduced to after get off work. Faced with the challenges of reviving commercial gyms and outdoor sports, the transformation of home fitness is imminent.

And Meta’s Metaverse vision is a three-dimensional virtual world that integrates various services and functions. In the home fitness track, due to the needs of long-term development, hardware or service providers are also focusing on developing a closed ecosystem of “hardware + service + interaction” , and the concept of Metaverse just meets this need.

Therefore, gaining a firm foothold in the Metaverse has become the second wave of the development of foreign home fitness content companies for a while. Meta also pointed out that gamification strategy is the prospect of the home fitness industry based on its own concept.

Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

Source: Switch official website 

In fact, from the DDR dance game in the early years to the fitness ring adventure and boxing fitness that became popular during the epidemic, fitness games have long shown their potential in promoting home fitness. However, due to its game development background, its professionalism and effectiveness are often questioned, and it has not been officially incorporated by the fitness industry for a long time.

The arrival of the concept of Metaverse Fitness has once again emphasized the feasibility of cooperation between games and the fitness industry, and this time it is a gamification attempt based on fitness.

Les Mills released BODYCOMBAT VR, its first VR fitness game, on Quest2 last month. The content of the game is the same as the offline version of the course, which integrates various classic boxing and martial arts moves, but upgrades the air strike in the classroom to hitting the target. Participants earn points for their technical performance and unlock levels ranging from “interstellar deserts” to “futuristic city skylines.” The 25 courses currently online basically cover different levels of difficulty, and the leading star coaches Newsham and Cohen provide guidance and advice throughout the process.

Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

Source: Les Mills official website 

Peloton started developing the virtual interactive game Lanebreak before its stock price plunged. The rhythm of the ride and the virtual six-lane race track that are in sync with the music are the biggest highlights of the game. In terms of game experience, content production companies Zwift and Capti, which also focus on cycling training, have done better. For example, the riding environment in zwift is based on computer-generated images of real urban landscapes. There are multiple players playing online at the same time. Restored the Tour de France in the game hall.

But Meta’s 35% drop in its share price in the first quarter also amplifies doubts in the industry. On the one hand, the experiencers believed that the mode of Body Combat VR was similar to the boxing game launched earlier by Supernatural, and questioned that the entertainment attempt in the fitness industry would be essentially different from the fitness game. On the other hand, whether it’s Peloton’s cycling game or the online experience class co-branded by Keep and The King of Fighters, they’re just preparations for the content of the Metaverse. How to get course subscribers to buy VR equipment (head-mounted or wearable) to experience true Metaverse fitness has also become an unresolved issue.

The Metaverse is not the end, but a complement to the concept of home fitness

Based on the current situation, the entertainment-oriented Metaverse Fitness is difficult to become a transformation product of home fitness, but more like a supplement to the current increasingly professional home fitness.

When it comes to home fitness, more and more content relies on hardware. Especially in the European and American markets, professional equipment such as fitness mirrors, treadmills, and exercise bicycles have almost become the threshold of the topic. The free courses provided by some fitness institutions will be banned from offline classes once the epidemic situation improves. They can only be called online substitutes, not fitness content tied to family scenarios.

Home fitness equipment is also insisting on iterative products. Tonal, a rising star, has installed mechanical arms on both sides of the fitness mirror that add resistance through electromagnetics, making the mirror a composite product that integrates multi-part strength training, video demonstrations, and data collection and feedback.

The aerobic training on the other side is also more professional and meticulous. From recorded and broadcasted videos, to live broadcast interactions, to the access of AI coaches, content providers are committed to replicating all the interactions that traditional gyms can achieve.

Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

Source: Tonal YouTube Channel 

On the one hand, it is understandable that competitors in the home fitness industry are committed to providing better services to capture core users. On the other hand, the increasingly professional home fitness has raised the threshold for groups who have never been exposed to equipment or group classes.

The admission of recreational family fitness has become the key to broadening the family fitness crowd and enriching the fitness scene.

The Metaverse game in the fitness industry emphasizes the scientific nature of training, but it has not subverted the game concept of fun before function.

Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

Source: Zwift official website 

Although industry-developed games still put real-time interactions on the public screen, the current technological reality is that VR devices (usually headsets and controllers) cannot capture and respond to more body movements. But sacrificing a certain level of real-time interaction does enhance the immersive experience so that participants don’t have to switch between virtual and real selves, temporarily forget about fitness goals, and complete their workouts in a pleasant atmosphere.

Such psychological relief is exactly the fitness products that non-hardcore bodybuilders need, and it is also a bait to mobilize family members and friends who have no fitness habits to participate in sports.

In fact, the VR wearable device that carries the Metaverse world has developed independently of the fitness context. In people’s consistent cognition, it is more of a medium that carries home entertainment functions. Fitness products designed based on it must also continue its social value.

The addition of Metaverse to the field of home fitness is not to dilute its original professionalism, but to re-enrich the concept of “home fitness”: to incorporate more non-fitness professionals into the territory, and to realize the transition from “fitness at home” to “fitness for the whole family” span.

Meeting diverse needs is the end of home fitness

Metaverse cannot realize the perfect transformation of home fitness, but the entertainment fitness trend it brings has prompted the industry to explore and try to meet the multiple needs of home fitness practitioners. 

Professional or recreational, it’s not an either-or fitness option. Whether it is a hardcore or a novice bodybuilder, there is a thirst for professional feedback and entertainment and social interaction. 

Condensing all the functions of the gym into a piece of home hardware cannot solve the loneliness of fitness at home, and recreational fitness that is rewarded by props or experience points is also difficult to cultivate the intrinsic motivation to persist in fitness for a long time. 

Therefore, adding functions similar to social and emotional connection on top of professional home fitness equipment and returning the concept of the Metaverse to people-oriented fitness service design is the next step in home fitness. 

Is the end of home fitness a Metaverse?

Source: Medium 

Just as the popular dance mats of the last century can sweat the whole family, home fitness in the Metaverse is not just about offering products or services that meet individual fitness needs. Wearing a helmet and exercising alone at home can only be “adding clouds to the clouds” and upgrading alone.

Instead, it should be used in any situation that requires an emotional connection and healthy living, such as a real-life King of Fighters game in the living room with a child who is addicted to video games, or a beach volleyball game with a colleague in the office.

At present, home fitness technology has been able to break the physical barrier and allow users to have a strong body without leaving home. The important significance of the arrival of Metaverse fitness technology is to break the spiritual barrier and let fitness create value for family life and intimate relationships.

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