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Kinect PlayFit is a downloadable application for the Xbox 360 developed by Ruffian Games and Microsoft Studios. It was released in the U.S. on July 10th, 2012. Similar to Halo Waypoint, PlayFit isn’t a game itself but tracks and rewards player progress and activity across a growing selection of Kinect titles.
The supported games have functionality to track physical movement which is then imported into PlayFit as a numerical “calories burned” value. Loading PlayFit after playing one of the supported games updates the user’s PlayFit activity, adding to their total calories burned, Daily Streak count, and can unlock Achievements and Avatar Awards. Players can compare stats with friends who have also used PlayFit, see their Global Rank and view calorie input across days, weeks and months in the form of bar graphs.
Joule and PlayFit
In early May of 2012 The Verge got word from unnamed sources that PlayFit would be accompanied by a wireless heart rate monitoring device referred to as Joule. Joule would enable PlayFit to track physical metrics across all games, potentially even letting users track stats outside of gaming altogether. It was expected to be unveiled at E3 in June but for reasons unknown it wasn’t officially announced until early July.
It’s possible that Joule proved to be too expensive to produce or too ambitious for Microsoft’s expected return on the investment. Instead they chose to focus PlayFit on only certain games whose save data could easily be used to get the “calories burned” figures. Not only does this allow them to slowly roll out compatibility and keep up awareness it also encourages users to buy specific titles instead of playing the Kinect games they may already own.
There are currently 13 supported titles, with more planned.