Augmented reality is when applications and games superimpose a camera image in real time with images, characters and data to provide all kinds of interactive experiences. Three years ago, the frenzy of Pokémon GO captured the attention of players from all over the world and also that of researchers from the University of Tokyo, Japan, who found that the game positively impacts the level of physical activity in older users. 40 years old They hope the findings will provide information to planners and game designers to inspire people to be more active.
The objective of the work directed by Kimihiro Hino was to confirm if there was a difference in step counts between players and non-player players before and after the launch, in 2016, of Pokémon GO, the location-based smartphone game.
The volunteers were selected from 2,580 participants who received pedometers (devices for counting steps) within the framework of the Yokohama Walking Point Program, launched in 2014 to promote physical activity. 230 players were recruited: 46 players and 184 non-players, with an average age of 56 and 57 years, respectively.
To investigate the change in step counts, we compared the data from the counts performed one month before the release with the records obtained eight months later.
The work, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research , confirmed the difference in the counts between the two groups before and after the launch and found that the group of players maintained the activity in winter , despite the decrease in the step counts of the no players The biggest difference was 583 steps per day in the month of December.
Because augmented reality games demand physical activity instead of just facing the screen of a computer or game console, researchers believe they could inspire adults to be more active.
“The creators of games and urban planners could take into account what we have learned in their respective activities,” says Hino, “I think Pokémon GO is successful because it is a game with possible additional health benefits. serve as a gateway to encourage people’s enthusiasm for physical activity . “
Another hope is that these results will inspire urban planners to build more pedestrian areas in urban centers. The Japanese researcher would like to explore further the connections between augmented reality games and their impact, not only on physical activity itself, but on attitudes towards exercise.
“Many middle-aged people grew up with computer games, but the older generation might feel intimidated to use them, with exercise as an excuse, they can play more and therefore do more, it’s a virtuous circle. to people to use less the car and to walk or to ride more in bicycle There are many Pokémon to catch “.