Confirmed on the Xbox Wire shortly after the news was leaked on Xbox.com, Microsoft is partnering with celebrity trainers like Jillian Michaels, Tony Horton, Shaun T, and Tracy Anderson to create a subscription-based service called Xbox Fitness. Integrating Kinect functionality into the fitness videos, Xbox One owners will be able to watch their heart rate, activity level, and overall performance levels during each workout. Located on the right side of the screen, active participants will also be able to see tips encouraging ways to improve their form as well as an overall star rating for workout performance.
Adding social sharing elements into the mix, Xbox Fitness users will be able to compare scores with the overall Xbox Live community, as well as issue challenges to Xbox Live friends to beat high scores on specific workouts. Similar to content recommendations on Netflix Instant, Xbox Fitness will offer suggestions for specific workouts based on your viewing preferences, as well as your performance during those workouts. Hypothetically, if a P90X workout with Tony Horton is too strenuous and you have difficulty keeping up with the exercises, Xbox Fitness could suggest a less intensive workout the next time you want to workout.
The next-generation Kinect sensor reads changes in your skin in order to determine the heart rate during the workout. Displayed using a heat mapping tool on the right side of the screen, the Kinect also watches muscle engagement to measure force, height of jumps, distance moved and overall speed. All of this information ties onto the overall performance rating for the user while the workout is ongoing, according to Xbox.com’s announcement.
Workouts will vary between 10 to 60 minutes on Xbox Fitness and offer options for a variety of skill levels. Assuming users pay for a Xbox Live Gold membership, the Xbox Fitness Pass will be free through December 2014 for all Xbox One owners; essentially one year of service for all new Xbox One purchases at launch. After that time period, users will have to purchase the Fitness Pass or pay for specific workouts to continue utilizing the platform.
According to the fine print on the Xbox Fitness landing page, it states “Starting January 2015, unlimited access requires a paid Xbox Fitness Pass subscription and an Xbox Live Gold membership (both sold separately). Additional Xbox Fitness content is available for purchase, and may vary over time.”
Interestingly, the Xbox Fitness platform may reduce the number of fitness related titles in development for the Xbox One. Since popular trainers can recycle existing training videos for Xbox Fitness, only the Kinect functionality has to be integrated into the Xbox Fitness platform to make the training regiment available to Xbox One users.