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Health games notch up worldwide sales of over $2 billion - report

Genre "probably the largest sector of activity in the serious games field long-term"

Worldwide sales for health-focused games such as Wii Fit, EA Sports Active and Konami's Dance Dance Revolution have totalled USD 2 billion over an 18 month period, according to Ben Sawyer, co-founder of the US-based Games for Health Project.

"Healthcare is 18 per cent of the GDP of the United States and so games for health is probably the largest sector of activity in the serious games field long-term," he said.

According to a report by Reuters, while attendee numbers at other conferences are down by up to 40 per cent, the fifth annual Games for Health conference held in Boston this year attracted a crowd of 390 developers, investors and medical experts - up from 100 the previous year.

Dr Debra Leiberman, who works as a director of health games research, even thinks there's scope to introduce current gaming technology into schools and to gamers at a young age.

"States' governors should direct their school technology officers to look at innovations like Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Fit as a way to extend the reach of physical education and comprehensive health education," Leiberman said.

Wii, DS and mobile in particular have seen quite an influx of health related games in the past year. Nintendo will follow up its successful Wii Fit with Wii Fit Plus in the autumn and similar Wii titles coming up include Ubisoft's My Fitness Coach: Cardio Workout and Black Bean's NewU Fitness First Personal Trainer.

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