Fitocracy Users Come For The Gamification, But Stay For The Community

It’s no surprise that fitness gamification network Fitocracy is thriving — the company recently announced that it had surpassed 1 million users and has signed deals with personalities like the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But the company recently received its latest honor as one of Time Inc’s 10 NYC Startups to Watch.

We took the opportunity to speak to co-founders Brian Wang and Dick Talens about why gamification seems to be working in the fitness world. At first glance, gamification seems to make sense based on the fact that fitness goes with athletics, sports or “games,” if you will. But devices like the Nike FuelBand and its various counterparts have shown that users grow discouraged when they can’t maintain steady progress, as measured by the quantified activity.

But Fitocracy uses gamification as a way to get users interested in and hooked on the app, which lets you track your fitness and receive props from friends and the community for advancing. According to the founders, users come for the gamification but stay for the community, which becomes the source of inspiration as opposed to getting encouragement from your own progress.

Talens and Wang, who are gamers at heart and came up with the idea for Fitocracy as they tried to get in shape, also chatted with me about the new Xbox One and the different ways Fitocracy (and companies like it) can leverage the new heart-monitoring Kinect.