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Sumo Digital working on software for gyms

Sheffield-based studio Sumo Digital, which most recently developed the critically acclaimed Xbox version of Sega's Outrun 2, has commenced work on a new project - developing software for use in gyms and fitness centres.

Described as "a new software product that could change the way people exercise at the gym forever," the product has been developed with support and advice from Business Link South Yorkshire, and is designed to make the gym experience more interesting for users.

"Instead of busy executives riding exercise bikes to nowhere, Sumo's new software will make the trip more exciting," Business Link South Yorkshire adviser David Patterson explained. "Still sat on a static bike in your local gym, you could be riding through images of open countryside, mountain bike tracks, or the Scottish Highlands."

"This is just one of the many possible applications for this software that has been developed by using computer gaming technologies and has been very well received within the fitness industry," Patterson concluded.

It's certainly not the first time that the games industry has crossed over into the fitness market, though. Konami's Dance Dance Revolution titles (known as Dancing Stage in Europe) were so popular in gyms in Japan that the company ended up working with giant fitness centre chain People Company to create a calorie-burning mode for later revisions of the software - and subsequently bought People Company outright, leading to the publisher now being one of the largest gym operators in the Far East.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.