A recent report by Naomi Nix for The Washington Post highlighted that the landscape of virtual reality (VR) is undergoing a significant shift. Sam Cole’s VR fitness app, FitXR, initially attracted young male gamers when it launched on Meta’s platform five years ago. However, as reported by Nix, the app’s user base has evolved over the years, with the average user now being a woman over 35.
According to the report, this shift is primarily attributed to the app’s athletic theme, which has drawn women living with men who owned a headset to try out the fitness apps. This trend is something that major tech companies are keen to replicate as they aim to expand the VR app market’s appeal beyond its traditional gaming audience.
Nix’s report also highlights how tech giants are exploring new use cases for VR, such as work, fitness, and entertainment, to attract a broader audience. For instance, when Apple announced its new mixed-reality headset, Vision Pro, the company emphasized its potential for immersive conversations, dynamic photo and video capture, and enhanced entertainment experiences rather than gaming.
The report further discusses how VR fitness apps can attract people who may find traditional workout classes intimidating or inaccessible. These apps offer intensive exercise routines designed by experts set in extravagant virtual environments, providing a unique and immersive workout experience.
However, Nix also points out the challenges to the widespread adoption of VR for fitness. Issues such as discomfort, dizziness, and physical restrictions due to cords and battery packs can make it difficult for users to exercise using the devices. Despite these challenges, VR fitness enthusiasts and developers remain optimistic about the potential of this emerging market. As Nix reports, Cole’s company is already planning to adapt the FitXR app for Apple’s device, anticipating that the new device will reintroduce customers to the allure of VR.