Nintendo wants people to work out with a new piece of fitness hardware

Nintendo wants people to work out with a new piece of fitness hardware
Copyright 2019 CNN
Nintendo is once again selling fitness.

Nintendo is once again selling fitness.

The video game maker unveiled on Thursday “Ring Fit Adventure,” which is sold with a new piece of hardware — a squeezable electronic ring that senses pressure.

In “Ring Fit,” you play a jogger who discovers a magical ring and squeezes it, accidentally releasing a monstrous dragon that’s very in shape. The dragon, aptly named Dragaux, taunts you and then disappears.

“Nintendo has always had a lot of success appealing to non-hardcore audiences and reinventing the norms of console play,” said Laine Nooney, assistant professor and historian of video games at New York University. “Fitness products do both, and given the technological improvements…since the Wii Fit, Nintendo may be angling to see if consumers are willing to once more re-imagine their relationship with their consoles.”

The objective is to complete different physical challenges, from a range of squats, yoga poses, running, high knees and more, to finally confront the dragon at the end of the game. Nintendo said that the game “is meant to fit into busy lifestyles” with short sessions to be played over several months but that playtime will differ for individuals.

“Nintendo is always looking for ways to surprise people,” said Nick Chavez, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Nintendo, in a press release. “Ring Fit Adventure combines gaming and physical activity in a way that incentivizes people to keep coming back for more.”

Nintendo has made fitness accessories before, carving out a market for children and older adults who want to stay energetic.

Most famously, it launched the Wii Fit at the start of the global economic downturn more than a decade ago. The Wii Fit uses an electronic balance board that responds to players’ movement and weight. It lets you try a range of activities including aerobics, strength training, balance games and yoga. Earlier this year, Nintendo launched a “Fitness Boxing” game, also for Switch, where you can wield the Joy-Cons in each hand to control your virtual boxer.

The main difference with “Ring Fit Adventure” and Nintendo’s past fitness products is that “Ring Fit” promises an adventure game with a storyline. You can aim your ring at obstacles and squeeze to shoot at them and earn in-game currency, which helps boost your character. After each level you run into a dragon minion and face off, by completing squats and other athletic poses to power your character through to victory.

The “Ring Fit” game launches on October 18 and will be sold with the ring (dubbed the Ring-Con) and a leg strap. The game and accessories cost a combined $79.99. That’s $20 more than the average flagship Nintendo Switch game.

The game runs on the original Nintendo Switch, which must be purchased separately and retails for roughly $300. You’ll need to detach one Joy-Con to fit into your ring and the other into your leg strap, so the game can’t be played on the new Switch Lite, where the Joy-Cons aren’t removable, without additional purchases.