Digital Sport: Merging Gaming with Sports to Enhance Physical Activities Such as Jogging

Digital Sport: Merging Gaming with Sports to Enhance Physical Activities Such as Jogging

Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller (The University of Melbourne, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-406-4.ch009
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Recent advances in computing technology have contributed to a new trend that merges digital gaming with physical sports activities and combines the advantages of both; such as contributing a health benefit and supporting distributed participants. This chapter describes prominent examples, and their underlying theoretical concepts and perspectives. In particular, it presents a design prototype, “Jogging over a Distance,” which offers social joggers the opportunity to run together, although being in two different locations. This approach demonstrates the potential for the merging of computer gaming technology with sports activities, to offer combined effects that have traditionally been limited to each respective domain. Future work on enhancing existing sports and gaming activities will support novel experiences previously not possible. This exciting new field has the potential to enhance users’ lives by making positive health contributions.
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Digital computer games, from their early beginnings in arcades to the multi-million dollar titles of today, follow rule-sets; often allow for interactions; and are predominantly high-score focused. Furthermore, digital games encourage their players to improve upon their skills in a competitive fashion. Very similar characteristics are attributed to sports. Also, gamers can become members of internationally organized clubs and participate in prestigious gaming tournaments, similar to the ones that exist in professional sports (Pedersen, 2002). Such activities have been labeled “online sports” or “e-sports”. Further, there is a voluntary characteristic associated with both sports and computer games, and both are believed to be motivated by a perception of fun (Wulf, Moritz, Henneke, Al-Zubaidi & Stevens, 2004). It appears that physical sports and computer gaming have many aspects in common.

However, what differentiates computer gaming from traditional sports is its lack of support for physical exertion. Unlike sports, computer games do not encourage the use of gross motor skills, as their focus is mostly on fine motor skills. They do not intend to exert players physically, because they do not demand physical effort to reach the game’s goal. This is very different to sport’s focus on training and mastering the human body, which dates back to the ancient Greek’s celebration of the body and its movements. Computer games involve predominantly the development of cognitive skills and neglect involving the body in its supported activities. Players are only required to press buttons on a keyboard, game pad, or mouse in order to control an avatar’s movements, even though these avatars perform actions that, in reality, would require great strength and endurance. The mapping of users’ actions is not proportional to the represented activities. This lack of inclusion of physical activities is characteristic for computer games, but that means gamers also miss out on the benefits of physical activity.

Sports have many advantages, including physical, social and mental health benefits. From a physical perspective, sports can contribute to a healthier body by reducing the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes (Pate et al., 1995). From a social and mental health viewpoint, sport is believed to teach social skills (Morris, Sallybanks & Willis, 2003), encourage team-building, and support individual growth, as well as community development (Gratton & Henry, 2001). Some argue sport can foster social integration and personal enjoyment (Long & Sanderson, 2001; Wankel & Bonnie, 1990); provide opportunities to meet and communicate with other people; and contribute positively to self-esteem and well-being (Bailey, 2005). These are benefits that also contribute to the growth of social capital (Huysman & Wulf, 2004; Putnam, 2000). Sports activities can facilitate bonds between people, resulting in loyalty and team spirit. Team sports, in particular, are considered to be character building. Sports clubs not only function as a place to exercise, but also as a social space (Putnam, 2000). International sporting events also demonstrate that sports have the ability to overcome the language barrier and bring people together from various cultural backgrounds.

In summary, sports offer many benefits. The health and social benefits are of particular focus here. Computer games share some of these concepts, but fall short in offering a fitness aspect, due to interaction mechanisms that focus on fine-motor skills. Their role in facilitating social support is ambivalent. However, computer game technologies have now emerged that allow for novel social experiences, such as participating in shared activities between geographically distant players.

The objective of this chapter is to introduce the reader to an emerging approach in the amalgamation of digital games technology and sports activities. By combining the unique advantages from computer gaming technologies (such as supporting geographically distant participants) and the health benefits of sports, new experiences can be facilitated that offer mutual benefits to users, previously only available in each area.

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Graham Cuskelly
Nigel Pope, Kerri-Ann L. Kuhn, John J.H. Forster
Chapter 1
John J.H. Forster
One of the major forces shaping modern sport is the application of digital technology. This is transforming the mass consumption, distribution... Sample PDF
Digital Technologies and the Intensification of Economic and Organisational Mechanisms in Commercial Sport
Chapter 2
Sean Reilly, Peter Barron, Vinny Cahill, Kieran Moran, Mads Haahr
The area of computer-augmented sports is large and complex and spans several disciplines. This chapter presents a general-purpose taxonomy of... Sample PDF
A General-Purpose Taxonomy of Computer-Augmented Sports Systems
Chapter 3
Veljko Potkonjak, Miomir Vukobratovic, Kalman Babkovic, Branislav Borovac
This chapter relates biomechanics to robotics. The mathematical models are derived to cover the kinematics and dynamics of virtually any motion of a... Sample PDF
Dynamics and Simulation of General Human and Humanoid Motion in Sports
Chapter 4
Brendan Burkett
Monitoring of player activity within a competition is currently a reality within some high performance sporting teams, and the demand and level of... Sample PDF
Technologies for Monitoring Human Player Activity Within a Competition
Chapter 5
Chee Kwang Quah, Michael Koh, Alex Ong, Hock Soon Seah, Andre Gagalowicz
Through the advancement of electronics technologies, human motion analysis applications span many domains. Existing commercially available magnetic... Sample PDF
Video-Based Motion Capture for Measuring Human Movement
Chapter 6
Amin Ahmadi, David D. Rowlands, Daniel A. James
Tennis is a popular game played and viewed by millions of people around the world. There is a large impetus for players to improve their game and... Sample PDF
Technology to Monitor and Enhance the Performance of a Tennis Player
Chapter 7
Daniel A. James, Andrew Busch, Yuji Ohgi
The testing and monitoring of elite athletes in their natural training and performance environment is a relatively new area of development that has... Sample PDF
Quantitative Assessment of Physical Activity Using Inertial Sensors
Chapter 8
Volker Wulf, Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller, Eckehard F. Moritz, Gunnar Stevens, Martin R. Gibbs
Augmenting existing sports experiences with computing technology is increasingly gaining attention due to its potential for performance enhancement.... Sample PDF
Computer Supported Collaborative Sports: An Emerging Paradigm
Chapter 9
Florian ‘Floyd’ Mueller
Recent advances in computing technology have contributed to a new trend that merges digital gaming with physical sports activities and combines the... Sample PDF
Digital Sport: Merging Gaming with Sports to Enhance Physical Activities Such as Jogging
Chapter 10
Lauren Silberman
Just at the moment when gaming has achieved broad cultural acceptance, a new way of using commercial sport video games is emerging, which adds a new... Sample PDF
Double Play: How Video Games Mediate Physical Performance for Elite Athletes
Chapter 11
Donald P. Roy, Benjamin D. Goss
The explosion of fantasy sports and the dearth of research about it create a need for investigation in this relatively new form of sport... Sample PDF
A League of Our Own: Empowerment of Sport Consumers Through Fantasy Sports Participation
Chapter 12
Jean-Pierre Dussault, Michael Greenspan, Jean-François Landry, Will Leckie, Marc Godard, Joseph Lam
We introduce pool and its variants, and describe the challenges of computationally simulating the game to create a robot capable of selecting and... Sample PDF
Computational and Robotic Pool
Chapter 13
Scott Bingley, Stephen Burgess
Sport plays a major part in the Australian psyche with millions of people participating every year. However organised sport at the local or social... Sample PDF
A Framework for the Adoption of the Internet in Local Sporting Bodies: A Local Sporting Association Example
Chapter 14
Anthony K. Kerr
Globalisation and advances in communications technology have greatly expanded the potential marketplace for professional teams, especially for those... Sample PDF
Online Questionnaires and Interviews as a Successful Tool to Explore Foreign Sports Fandom
Chapter 15
Gaoqi He, Zhigeng Pan, Weimin Pan, Jianfeng Liu
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Virtual Digital Olympic Museum
Chapter 16
Kerri-Ann L. Kuhn
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Chapter 17
Beth A. Cianfrone, James J. Zhang
This chapter introduces the new and unique sport promotional format of sport video game sponsorships and in-game advertising. Information on the... Sample PDF
Sport Video Game Sponsorships and In-Game Advertising
Chapter 18
Mark Lee, Rajendra Mulye, Constantino Stavros
This chapter reports a recent research study involving a sports video game which sought to provide an overview on the use of in-game advertising... Sample PDF
In-Game Advertising: Effectiveness and Consumer Attitudes
Chapter 19
Monica D. Hernandez, Sindy Chapa
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The Effect of Arousal on Adolescent's Short-Term Memory of Brand Placements in Sports Advergames
Chapter 20
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This chapter presents marketers, sporting management and sports organizations with a technique for analyzing consumer schemas associated with... Sample PDF
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