• Andy Marston

Meta makes Supernatural acquisition in bid to gamify the fitness industry

Less than a day after rebranding to Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook announced that it was acquiring Within, a start-up focused on offering a variety of fitness-related VR apps.

The company is most famous for Supernatural, which debuted on Facebook’s Oculus Quest platform back in April. The app, which is described as “a fitness-oriented take on the popular Beat Saber rhythm game,” takes a gamified approach to convincing people they should work out using VR.

The acquisition can also be seen as part of a wider trend across the entire fitness industry, which is increasingly seeing its future in gamification.

Fitness gamification creatively combines the highly popular elements of competitive video games into workouts to address a large complaint many have with fitness: a lack of noticeable progress. This is achieved through the use milestones and scores within games, which can provide instantaneous feedback and gratification, as well as distracting from the physical exertion.

District Technologies for example, has developed a first-of-its-kind running and urban exploration app which combines location-based tracking, augmented reality, and gamification to motivate users to explore cities by completing a series of virtual challenges and checkpoints. Taking this to another level, the platform is soon-to-launch digital collectables into the physical world, further gamifying the platform.

Our Take

Gamification in fitness is still a relatively new trend, but it has already shown itself to be a valuable innovation. This is only set to grow with the continued development of wearables, apps, and virtual and augmented reality, particularly with powerful players like Meta now increasingly focused on transforming VR headsets into workout tools.