Atari steps into fitness with health app launch, partners with Walgreens

By Aditi Pai
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AtariFitGame production company Atari has launched a fitness app, called Atari Fit for Android and iOS devices. Atari partnered with 8BitFit, a company that develops smartphone-based fitness games, and Gametheory, a production studio, to develop the app. Atari also partnered with Walgreens to offer Balance Rewards points to users who are tracking their steps through the app.

The company said the launch of this fitness app marks their entrance into the fitness and health market and is a part of Atari's "ongoing corporate strategy to reach new audiences across a diverse set of platforms".

“With Atari Fit, players from around the globe can exercise, play and get healthy together by providing a gamified fitness experience unlike any other app currently available,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a statement. “By uniting the universal need to exercise and live healthfully with the entertaining experience unique to Atari games, we’ve created an app that proves fitness can be fun.”

The Atari Fit app offers over 150 gamified exercise routines including full-body circuits and running programs. Users can unlock additional fitness routines with points earned from burning calories or through in-app purchases. As the user exercises, the app will track distance, speed, pace, and calories burned. If users want to connect with friends, they can join a team to run or do another exercise routine with others. They can also challenge friends to workout against them.

Users can also earn in-game rewards by syncing data from wearable devices or other apps. Atari Fit will integrate the data from Apple Health. When users raise their fitness level in the app, they receive coins, and they can use the coins to unlock Atari classic games, for example Pong, Super Breakout, and Centipede. Users can also earn Walgreens Balance Rewards that they can redeem for discounts at Walgreens.

In the last few years, other game developer companies have also released fitness offerings.

In October 2013, Charles Huang and Kai Huang, founders of RedOctane, which developed the video game Guitar Hero, launched a digital fitness offering, called Blue Goji, that aims to gamify stationary exercise equipment. Blue Goji has three components. The first is an app, called Goji Play. The second component is a set of wireless controllers that can be attached to any fitness machine, including an elliptical trainer, treadmill, or exercise bike. Finally, the user is given an activity tracker to wear while exercising. From there, users can play a variety of games designed for Goji Play while the tracker sends data to the app.

The following month, Nintendo launched an activity tracking device, called Fit Meter, that could be used in conjunction with Nintendo's Wii U console.

Also in November 2013, game developer Konami released DanceDanceRevolution: Pocket Edition, which allows iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch users to play the dancing game without the need for large hardware like external dance pads. The pocket version requires that the user have Apple TV. It uses the motion sensors built into the phone to track the user’s dance moves and displays the game on the TV screen. It also tracks calories burned and other fitness statistics that can then be accessed in game, either individually or aggregated in a chart with past results.