Guitar Hero Creators Tackle Fitness Equipment Next With Goji Play

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Treadmills. They’re just so monotonous, no?

It’s a challenge to keep your mind off exhaustion or muscle fatigue, so many gym users turn to TV shows or books to distract themselves. But even that may not be enough to make exercise less of a chore for regular folk.

So Charles and Kai Huang, who are behind Guitar Hero, got the band back together and started Blue Goji. Today they’re launching Goji Play, which is a set of exercise equipment-friendly game controllers that lets you play games while on a treadmill or a bike.

“One of the things we learned back in our days working on Guitar Hero was really how great games can immerse people and inspire them,” Huang said. “And that’s not only have to fun but also to get more active. We really are all about active gaming and so after we moved on from Activision, we started to have this interest in health, fitness and wellness.”

The idea and the video below may look pretty goofy at first glance. But if you think about it or actually use the product, Goji Play ends up being a decent mental distraction.

“Most people think of workout equipment as boring and monotonous,” Huang said. “You’re basically staring at a wall for 30 to 60 minutes. So we really wanted to change that experience and make it more fun using our expertise in making great games.”

Huang is taking the same hardware-meets-software approach with this bootstrapped company. For $99 a set, there are two wireless game controllers, each with Velcro straps to attach them to a whole range of exercise equipment from treadmills, stationary bicycles and elliptical machines (see below).

Goji Play Hardware

A third piece is an activity tracker to see how quickly you’re moving, which gives more power to your characters inside games.

What you’ll need is an iPad, iPod Touch or an iPhone.

On those devices, you can access Goji Play’s library of games, which are takes on classic genres like boxing, through the Goji Play app. While you’re running on a treadmill, you can hold the two controllers and speed a ball down a runway or knock out a boxing rival (see below).

The apps aren’t limited to gaming either. There’s a Goji Reader app, which makes it easy to scroll through content and news using the game controllers. (That’s so you don’t have to constantly swipe an iPad or hold a book open while reading.)

Fisticuffs

Each unit handles multiple players, so one set works for an entire family complete with their own fitness goals, favorite games, social profiles, and more.

The company is retailing the product to consumers now on their own site and on Amazon, but they have some unannounced retail partnerships and it’s possible that they could work with gym chains as well.

Goji Play is bootstrapped with six people in the Bay Area and six in Austin.