As we type the good people of Nintendo are toiling away trying their darndest to manufacture enough copies of Wii Fit to meet the voracious consumer demand by release date this Wednesday, May 21 (NYC flagship store release today). Pre-orders of the new game are through the roof and some outlets have ceased accepting them due to supply shortage. And not for any oversight by the marketing team whose budget is to reach new heights as the largest ever spent for a single game in Nintendo history (in North America). But the burning question here is, what impact will a yoga videogame actually have on yogis and non-yogis alike and how will it affect the industry? Yes people, we said industry.
But it’s not “real” yoga you say?
Industry can be a crude term to some yogsters, but it’s the truth, yoga is an industry and bringing yoga directly to the homes of Americans who may have otherwise never stepped foot into a single yoga class is quite an amazing feat no matter how you slice it. Afterall, isn’t the very definition of Yoga “union“? And isn’t Nintendo uniting us all by providing the means for accessibility? Sure, videos have been around for decades, but this is a whole different ball of tea. For instance, the high-tech “balance board” it comes with measures whether or not you’re doing the pose correctly and keeps tabs on your progress, along with weight and bmi (body mass index). And don’t forget the other Fit exercises offered (ie. aerobics, strength training), which frankly sound much more appealing than your average yoga instructional video that can be quite daunting for those less inclined.
Of course there will be some who will cry blasphemy. To that we say fair enough, the spiritual aspect of yoga is all but lost through the videogame version and from our own experience the presence and energy of other yogis in a class can make for a formidable contact high. But hey, if there’s one thing we know it’s that you can’t fight technology and you can’t beat innovation. Plus isn’t the image of our boyfriends getting off the couch to do yoga in their pjs enough to make it all worthwhile? All we have to do now is brace ourselves for when the online gamers start chatting to each other on message boards about how they finally tackled vasisthasana.
Honestly, though, we’re holding out for the hologram version to come out.
So, will Wii yoga living-room-style win out or will the yoga studio prevail? Or will they live together harmoniously?
This discussion is so not over. Expect more updates and commentary to come.
Review: Wii Fit Works But Could Shape Up [Wired.com]