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Walking with Pokémon

Increased physical activity observed in older players of augmented reality game

Date:
February 5, 2019
Source:
University of Tokyo
Summary:
In a recent study, researchers reveal how the Pokémon GO augmented reality game positively impact the physical activity in players over 40. The authors hope the findings will inform urban planners and game designers to inspire people to be more active.
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Augmented reality is when apps and games overlay a real-time camera feed with images, characters and data to provide all kinds of interactive experiences. Pokémon GO is a very popular augmented reality game and University of Tokyo researchers revealed for the first time how the game positively impacted the physical activity in players over 40. They hope the findings will inform urban planners and game designers to inspire people to be more active.

In November 2014, Yokohama launched the Yokohama Walking Point Program, which aims to improve people's health. This is increasingly important if people wish to enjoy their longer lifespans as the overall age of the population increases. As part of this program, 2,580 participants over 18 were given pedometers which counted the steps they took in a day, and were surveyed on matters including usage of location-based augmented reality games.

From this pool of participants, 230 subjects were chosen with as much in common as possible to avoid other factors contributing to results. Forty-six of them were players of Pokémon GO, and 184 were not. Hino and his team wondered about the implications of these results.

"Game-makers and urban planners could factor what we've learned into their respective activities," continues Hino. "I think Pokémon GO succeeds where physical activity games do not because it's a game first with potential added health benefits. It's possible such games could serve as a gateway to further people's enthusiasm for physical activity."

Another hope is these results inspire urban planners to build more pedestrian areas into urban centers. Hino would like to explore further the connections between augmented reality games and their impact, not just on physical activity itself but on attitudes towards exercise.

"Many middle-aged people grew up with computer games, but the older generation might feel shy about playing them," concludes Hino. "With exercise as an excuse they may play more, thus exercise more. It's a virtuous circle. Maybe we'll see people use cars less and walk or cycle more. There's a lot of Pokémon out there to catch."


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Tokyo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kimihiro Hino, Yasushi Asami, Jung Su Lee. Step Counts of Middle-Aged and Elderly Adults for 10 Months Before and After the Release of Pokémon GO in Yokohama, Japan. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2019; 21 (2): e10724 DOI: 10.2196/10724

Cite This Page:

University of Tokyo. "Walking with Pokémon." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205115324.htm>.
University of Tokyo. (2019, February 5). Walking with Pokémon. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 28, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205115324.htm
University of Tokyo. "Walking with Pokémon." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190205115324.htm (accessed February 28, 2024).

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