E3 2012: Nike, Microsoft join forces to whip gamers into shape

It may be a stereotype that gamers are largely, well … large, but the stereotype exists for a reason. Gaming, for the most part, is a sedentary activity, yet that’s not stopping Microsoft and Nike from teaming up to promote fitness with a new game dubbed “Kinect + Fitness.”

The unwieldy, grammatically awkward title is the result of the game being an offshoot of Nike’s six-year-old Nike+ initiative, a collection of gadgets and information collecting paraphernalia designed to measure every detail of a user’s workout. Running speed, distance, heart rate; stuff like that. In keeping with that theme, Kinect + Fitness utilizes the Xbox 360’s Kinect peripheral to gauge the “player’s” workout as he or she exerts his or herself in the real world.

Initially the game will task users with a series of simple physical tasks designed to gauge their fitness level. Based on that and (Nike assures us) the company’s cutting-edge athlete measurement technology, the game then creates a customized workout routine. At set intervals in the future the game will then re-evaluate users and determine what they’re doing well, or how terribly they’ve botched their attempt at shedding those unsightly pounds.

Though a specific release date has yet to be set, Microsoft claims Kinect + Fitness will be available this holiday season. It’s currently unknown what price point will be attached to the title, though obviously prospective players will need an Xbox 360 as well as a Kinect.

While the idea is an admirable one — the collective audience waistline at Microsoft’s press conference certainly makes that abundantly clear — so far it seems to offer little more than Nintendo’s various Wii-based workout titles. Then again, it does have that all-important Nike branding, and if the last three decades have taught us nothing else, it’s that people will literally murder one another for that precious swoosh.

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