Another study finds Pokemon Go improves players’ physical activity

Yet another academic group has published research suggesting that Pokemon Go can be a useful tool for promoting exercise.

Duke University researchers funded by the American Heart Association studied 167 young adults and found that “Pokemon Go participation was associated with a significant increase in [physical activity].”

“We conducted a retrospective observational study among Pokémon GO players in September 2016 and analyzed their level of PA in terms of step count as reported on the iPhone Health app 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after initiation of Pokémon GO play. Specifically, we sought to compare changes in PA level before and after playing Pokémon GO and whether such changes differ by age, sex, baseline PA level, body mass index, and level of engagement in the game. The latter included a subjective measure of self‐reported playing time as well as an objective measure of game progression indicating players’ level of engagement.”

“By playing Pokémon GO, an individual could walk nearly 2000 additional steps per day and is more likely to achieve a goal of 10 000+ steps per day, especially among those who spend more time playing Pokémon GO and those who are overweight/obese or have a lower baseline PA level,” the authors conclude. “Games such as Pokémon GO may provide an alternative way to adopt an active lifestyle for persons who play them regularly.”

We’ve previously covered the Stanford/Microsoft team that used Microsoft Band data to conclude that Pokemon Go “added a total of 144 billion steps to US physical activity,” as well as the University of Wisconsin–Madison team that argued playing Pokemon Go was associated with higher happiness as measured by social and physical activity responses. MOP’s own PoGo expert Andrew Ross dived into the subject in a feature earlier this year too.

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17 Comments on "Another study finds Pokemon Go improves players’ physical activity"

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MesaSage

Just freakin take a walk already. I hear this excuse all the time. You don’t need a game as a reason to exercise. Just do it because you want to be fit.

Reader
primal

well sounds like they do need that excuse. with america and where i live UK being the number 1 and 2 fattest countries in the world they need something to get off there backside. But if they can drive then its screwed unless there forced to park up and walk somewhere they cant get with a car

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

I don’t know about the UK, but car culture in America is nearly unavoidable. Even the sporty “I go to the gym” people I’ve seen prefer to drive for a few minutes when we can easily walk a few blocks. If I’m doing some solo, it’s easy to get walking, but especially with other people, they tend to drive (or walk really, really slowly -_- )

Reader
Chris Brown-DeMoreno

Talk to me about this data 3-6 months in. The first few weeks following anything new that’s exciting to you will have elevated levels of activity related to whatever that thing is. Does it last beyond the hype phase?

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

Uhm, the game is almost a year old…

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

But the study is, again, from the first few weeks of the game. That’s consistently the problem with the research coming out. I understand that people need to get some hype for their articles and follow trends, but good science should follow-up with its topic to make sure its not a short term phenomenon (not the game — its still making good cash — but the topic of the game motivating exercise).

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

They should do studies like these on Ingress players too. While PGO players benefit the most from cities for all their activities, Ingress players often need and want the remote locations when fielding. No PGO would hike for 5 hours up a mountain to spin a pokestop that gives the same thing as the one in the oark.

Andrew Ross
Staff
Andrew Ross

There are gyms like this, actually, so PoGO still works, and is probably easier due to the larger player base. (and brand recognition that makes securing research funds easier -_- )

Reader
Michael18

In response to the commenters saying this study just proves the obvious:

Sometimes, science is about proving the obvious. The value of such studies lies in showing that there are no hidden surprises. There is a difference between finding something plausible or obvious and knowing something for a fact.

Also, it is not completely unthinkable that Pokemon GO might not actually increase physical activity. For example, this might be the case if the game were played mainly by people who enjoy and regularly engage in physical activity anyway and therefore the activity motivated by the game might just replace some other physical activity that would have taken place anyway.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

Shhh, don’t come here with logic and facts, you’ll upset the natives.

Reader
McGuffn

“By playing Pokémon GO, an individual could walk… additional steps per day… especially among those who spend more time playing Pokémon GO.”

Amazing. Hopefully in the future we will have the technology to hide pokemon in the cookie jar, or add a biometric component so that pokemon will come to you when you’re sitting on the couch and don’t want to get up.

Reader
Armsbend

These intense studies must have been done when people were still playing the game.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Nordavind

Thing is, even with that huge drop since the launch, it still has a more players than most if not all (save WOW) the MMOs that is covered here. And WOW has China, PGO has not IIRC.

Reader
Schmidt.Capela

Nah, WoW isn’t that high when your sorting criteria is number of players; given how much more revenue per player a subscription game gets, F2P games with a tenth of WoW’s revenue are likely on par with it as far as number of players go, and WoW isn’t even the highest revenue among MMOs. Also, on mobile alone, Fantasy Westward Journey seems to be beating Pokémon Go, and Lineage 2 Revolution seems to be nearly catching up with it.

Reader
Danny Smith

“mobile game based on going outside and walking makes people go out and walk”

Man these mobage articles must draw in some great page views with this kind of shocking development! :p

Reader
BDJ

In other news, the sky is blue and the earth is round.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that exercising more, even if it is walking for pokemons, is going to improve physical activity, especially when its a majority of overweight people out roaming.

Minimalistway
Reader
Minimalistway

Still, there is a difference between “my friend is walking more” and “study show people walk more”, one good for a talk with friends the other is used as a reference, if someone writing a book about video games the need the study.

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