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UtiliFIT: the game where you level-up through squats, lunges and burpees

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Utilifit merges fitness with a game

Former CCP president Mike Tinney and his studio FIX: Fitness Interactive eXperience are using games for a healthy cause in their upcoming fitness massively-multiplayer online game, UtiliFIT.

Announced in October 2012, UtiliFIT is an MMO that encourages players to be more physically active through completing fitness challenges, leveling themselves up and playing alongside friends and co-workers. Back in January, Tinney —who previously worked on CCP's EVE Online — told Polygon that UtiliFIT is designed to be a game first and foremost, as opposed to a gamified data-tracking app.

"Other games on the market seem to focus a little bit more on tracking and measuring your workout," he told Polygon. "We focus more on motivating somebody to take action. Our game is more about unlocking features as you play, connecting you to other people who are doing the same things you're doing and unlocking even more features."

In UtiliFIT's current beta, which Polygon was given access to, players sign up for an account via a web browser, input basic information like their height and weight, and select their fitness level and goals. The game begins by sending players micro-challenges via email or text throughout the day. Players can alter their notification settings and the level of how challenges scale. All challenges fall within the categories of strength, endurance and flexibility, and within each challenge there are different levels of difficulty.

"Taking a leaf from Eve Online, UtiliFIT is designed to be a socially-connected experience where players keep track of each other's progress ... and use their online competition to motivate each other."

In the current playable mode, if players begins the game at 9 a.m., they will be sent a new challenge to complete every hour, on the hour, for eight hours. These can range from less challenging workouts like completing 30 jumping jacks, walking briskly for 30 seconds and performing stretches, to higher-level workouts like burpees, push-ups, planking and more. The challenges are designed to be manageable for every level of fitness and only require a few minutes to complete, and if players find them too challenging, they can change their difficulty level. Upon completing each challenge players hit the "I Did It!" button, which then increases their progress bar in certain categories. If players miss a workout, they can elect to complete it later. If the player fails to complete the challenge before the end of the day, they may end up falling behind their competition. More modes will be added as the beta progresses, which will gave players more flexibility with when they play and when challenges are sent to them.

According to Tinney, the social experience is the glue that keeps players engaged. If a player were to play on their own, the solitary experience would make it easy to give up and skip exercises. Taking a leaf from Eve Online, UtiliFIT is designed to be a socially-connected experience where players keep track of each other's progress, have shared goals and experiences, and use their online competition to motivate each other.

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Tinney told Polygon that UtiliFIT isn't designed to be an inaccessible fitness tool. Rather, he wants it to be something anyone can use to increase their physical activity.

"The main thing we're seeing in the space is research showing how unhealthy it is to sit still for long periods of time, and how increased regular activity throughout the day is the third essential component besides diet and exercise for maintaining health and preventing heart disease and obesity," he said. "There's not a lot in this space right now that specifically focuses on that activity level, so we're early, we're well-timed for that and, in our game, working in five-minute increments every hour is kind of perfect to elevate people's metabolism and boost their energy levels."

UtiliFIT is currently in beta. Sign-ups can be accessed here.