It’s no secret that virtual reality is here, and it’s here to stay. But what can we do with it besides experience a digital world in a lifelike environment? Plenty. Facebook is betting the bank on it, along with several other corporate giants. But what about the obvious? Fitness. Couldn’t VR be a superb and entertaining way to exercise? The folks at VirZoom think so.
The VirZoom is a unique concept. Essentially, it’s an exercise bike, which syncs with your computer to control a VR experience while you ride. Slip a game in the hard drive and peddling and leaning on the exercise controls the game. How exactly these controls are used depends on which game you’re playing, but in all cases, you can expect a nice marriage between gaming and a good workout.
The VirZoom is designed to work with a computer, and a new feature with the Play Station VR. VirZoom offers a bike riding game, complete with motivational milestones and the ability to compete against other players. VirZoom also offers plenty of other games that offer equal fun. Fly a Pegasus, ride a horse, drive a race car, paddle a kayak or fly a helicopter.
The VirZoom looks a little slight for an exercise bike, but it’s sturdy. It’s footprint can fit in a small corner, so it takes up little space. It also folds conveniently for storage, and weighs less than 40 lbs. The handle bars include a heart rate monitor, and the software can be integrated with Fitbit and Strava.
The VirZoom connects to your computer via a USB dongle, and it’s easy to set up and connect. After the bike is connected, the software translates your pedaling into motion in the games. You don’t actually turn the handlebars to steer. Rather, you lean left or right to control your side-to-side movement. The handles of the controller have both buttons and triggers, similar to a typical game controller.
As an added benefit, the VirZoom also comes with a plugin that allows you to control regular games as well. Unfortunately, the VirZoom can’t automatically adjust the pedaling resistance based on conditions in the game. Instead, resistance is adjusted by turning a dial manually at any time while playing. With future VirZoom updates, this could change allowing this cool exercise feature. There is an in-game mechanism the developers try to use to make you pedal faster on inclines in order to maintain your speed going up hills.
VirZoom Software (Games)
The VirZoom software is what really drives the whole kit. The games allow you to exercise without thinking about it, which for many, is a lovely thing. And the built in controls on the handlebars allow you to control your gaming experience almost as effectively as if you had an actual gaming pad in your hands. And unlike almost all other home exercise equipment, the experience can be updated to provide players with an endless supply of compelling digital environments to exercise in.
VirZoom will be releasing additional levels, games, and enhancements for free as the life-cycle of the product progresses. All of the new games and enhancements being introduced have leader boards, ghost multiplayer competitions, head-to-head multiplayer competitions and social support. As it stands, the VirZoom comes with the following games: Kayak, Chopper, Tank, Pegasus, Race Car, Cowboy and of course, Cycle le Tour. And they all are pretty darn fun and offer a good workout. As mentioned however, enhancements and tweaks to the existing games could make them even more enjoyable, and listening to consumer VR demands will be key here to improving VirZoom as a whole.
Availability and Bottom Line
The VirZoom is a great start to what will be a booming industry. Combining VR games with exercise is a natural marriage, and the VirZoom does a great job with their bike and the current games being offered. It’s also fairly evident that the company is committed to improving the experience with new games, and enhancements to their current games. And for $399.99, it’s a pretty nice price point for all you get. VirZoom also offers a 30-day money back guarantee, which takes the risk out of giving it a try. You can buy the entire VirZoom system here.