ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Sports over a distance

By Florian 'Floyd' Mueller, Stefan Agamanolis
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 3, No. 3]

DOI: 10.1145/1077246.1077261

Computer games lack the social bonding and collective physical exercise benefits that sports provide. To overcome these limitations, we have been investigating how to apply the benefits of sport, in particular the workout and social bonding effect, in a distributed setting. We designed, developed, and evaluated Breakout for Two, which allows people who are miles apart to play a physically exhausting ball game together. We had over a thousand players who interacted through a life-size video-conference screen using a regular soccer ball as an input device. In an evaluative study, 56 players were interviewed and said that they got to know the other player better, had more fun, became better friends, and were happier with the transmitted audio and video quality in comparison to those who played the same game using a nonexertion keyboard interface. These results suggest that sports over a distance is an exciting new field with an "exertion interface" that encourages remote interaction, where players can achieve both a work-out and socializing.

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