This is a very sensible and valid subject for discussion. Unlike books and films, which are purely sedentary, games require input. With the introduction and vast popularity of gesture interfaces, led by the Wii, the scale and nature of possible game inputs has changed drastically. Sometimes requiring substantial effort.
We have Wii Sports as being one of the best selling video games of this generation. Equally striking has been the uptake of the balance board and Wii Fit. And all the “me too” shovelware from myriad lemming publishers trying to cash in.
And it is not just the Wii. Games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution have brought much physical activity to other consoles.
Of course the gesture interface genie is well and truly out of the lamp now with Microsoft and Sony following Nintendo’s lead, in Microsoft’s case with a greatly technically superior proposition. So the future of gaming is well and truly the gesture interface. Which is a good thing as it is more natural for users and vastly more immersive, which is the holy grail of what we do.
So games will take more effort. There will be games that are specifically designed to do so. But all games will, by the very nature of the interface, go in this direction. Games will be simulating real (and unreal) world environments and real world physical activities. Tomb Raider will reward athleticism.
Meanwhile in the real world children are wrapped in cotton wool and not allowed out, because it is well known that there is a paedophile hiding behind every lamp post. So children are getting less and less exercise and so childhood obesity in the West isn’t just common, it is prevalent.
This means that if junior spends two hours a day playing games on his/her gesture interface then it is going to be their main form of exercise for the day. Add to that busy parents using gaming as a catharsis for all the woes in their lives, young professionals using gaming instead of the gym and pensioners using it to increase both their life quality and life expectancy and we have a lot of people getting their exercise from video games.
So there is a very real chance that in the West, at least, video gaming will become the main source of exercise. Which is ironic when you see video gaming being demonised by idiots for exactly the opposite.