Imagine going to the gym to get some exercise, only instead of doing your weekly routine of ten reps here, twenty reps there, you slap on a VR headset and are immediately immersed into a game in which you are emotionally driven to use your body and naturally enhance your strength. Use your upper body strength to swing from branch to branch to save that child from being drowned in a flood; increase the muscle mass in your legs by kickboxing the monster threatening your village; save the damsel (or dude) in distress by scaling the 100-foot cliff using your rock-climbing skills; the possibilities are endless.
Remember October of 2009 when Wii fit rolled out? The combination of fitness and games was a hit, and families everywhere were eager to get a console and do some exercise in their living rooms. It was a novel idea, a commercial success and broadened the demographic of people getting physical activity to enhance their lives - through the act of playing video games. Now, in this revolutionary age of mixed realities, new company Black Box VR is taking this concept to a whole new level.
Co-founder of Black Box VR, Ryan DeLuca, is the former CEO of popular online fitness website Bodybuilding.com, he and his team built Bodybuilding.com to over half a billion dollars in annual revenue before selling his remaining interest. He and co-founder Preston Lewis, a lead design executive from Bodybuilding.com, dreamed up the vision to combine virtual reality with fitness. Out of some initial brainstorms and an incessant focus on helping people reach their fitness goals, came the concept for Black Box VR, a boutique gym where customers go and have emotionally-driven, experiential workouts. Deluca and Lewis quickly contacted Dan Thurber, creator of the IonVR headset, to begin prototypes. Think a mix between a free motion cable machine and the Katwalk VR.
"I think we're all tired of going to the gym," DeLuca says. "You get bored after a while, and you start thinking, maybe I should do Zumba, or cross training, or different fad workouts. Inside the virtual world, it can be different every time. In 10 or 20 years, people are going to wonder how they ever [worked out] before."
Moving forward, this may not just apply to the future of gyms. This easily could apply to the future of all video games. Envision being able to build muscle while swinging a sword in Witcher, or increase running stamina in Destiny. Opening the fitness demographic to gamers worldwide could be monumental.