Lately we (the project group) have been busy finishing our prototypes and accomplishing the user tests. There were a number of interesting findings from the tests. Basically both youngsters and adults (~50 year olds) were exited about exergames on the basis of the user tests of Figuremeter and Fitness Adventure prototypes. Just to highlight some observations: Young people were afraid of cheating and bullying. They consider a possibility that a school mate could e.g. force you to exercise on behalf of him/her. The teaser could get the benefit out of the exercise. If the exercise would be measured by a pedometer one could just "put the pedometer to a blender and get 10 000 steps in a minute". Such issues are avoidable by technical choices.
Adult users wanted to be entertainment but thought the Fitness Adventure game created by the project team was too naiive. They would like to get dynamic, informational, social and entertaining exercise experiences out of exergames. Our mobile prototypes were especially good for casual exercise, walking to work or school, hanging around the mall and/or light walking.
In relation to 'misuse' and/or challenges with the exergames, I came across Wired News article on 'Nike+ IPod = Surveillance
'. According to Univ. of Washington researchers: Ipod+Nike has some security flaws. They claim that tech-savvy abusers could stalk, track individuals' movements or even temp thieves into crime. We (at the Exergame project) have considered ways to activate women to get into exergaming. Many women do not like pulse meters, wristop computers or any of that. I have considered Ipod+Nano to be a nice novelty for the casual exercisers as many women not into technology are into music and listen music while exercising.
Still there seem to be a number of issues to take under consideration and lessons to be learned from current solutions. For me this was "out-of-the-box" thinking in a way. I have been focused on games, technologies, easiness of use, mobile services, motivational issues and consumer segments. That is all valuable information but it is also true that after a single stalker episode, it would take a long time until single women joggers would trust similar service or concept again.