Encouraged by the growth of the Oculus Quest platform and its success within it, FitXR is the latest VR fitness service to turn to a subscription model inside a VR headset.
The app, developed by a London-based team of the same name, is today turning into a free download and launching a new $9.99/£7.99 a month subscription plan that offers new features and brings back some other requested aspects. Launching today are daily workouts, the reintroduction of improved real-time multiplayer, licensed music and new environments to exercise in. Coming soon, meanwhile, is, FitXR’s third main form of workout, high intensity interval training (HIIT).
FitXR Subscription Revealed
Crucially, if you’re an existing FitXR user, nothing’s being taken away from you. Over web call, FitXR’s Sam Cole confirmed to me that all of the content you’ve already accumulated will remain in place. In fact, you’re actually be getting more – you’ll get 90 days free access to the subscription and the restoration of multiplayer will apply to existing customers whether they choose to then stay on or not.
The online functionality is also getting a bit of an upgrade. Long-time users of FitXR will recall that the app used to have real-time multiplayer when it was called BoxVR and offered only the boxing game. When FitXR made the transition to the remodelled app it replaced this feature with ‘ghost data’ of your friends, and you could no longer join up with them in real-time. Now the feature is coming back with support for up to seven players and things like voice chat and you can also see your friend’s virtual head and hands to one side as you work out.
I tried it out in the video below, and it was great to see this element back in both the boxing and the more recent dancing activity. Especially in the latter, taking part in the game as a group activity helps instil a welcome sense of community and motivation that you get in a real dance class.
Daily workouts, meanwhile, will be spread across the app’s activities, starting with boxing and dancing and moving to HIIT once it arrives. These will be designed and choreographed by professionals and make use of FitXR’s new licensing deal with Warner Music.
Finally, the HIIT workouts are due to arrive sometime in April. This sounds like one of the most interesting parts of the update, as Cole explained to me that HIIT was built around pushing the boundaries of how intense a VR fitness experience can be. I haven’t tried it for myself, but I did see what looked like a virtual game of whack-a-mole as one of the exercises. If this experience can come up with a bunch of VR-native activities that get you working out in innovative ways, it could be the most significant addition to the app yet.
While these features are all launching on Quest, FitXR is also planning to update the PC VR and PSVR versions of the app which are still in their BoxVR iterations, though there’s no date on these versions yet. Looking forward, Cole also confirmed that other types of activities are in development and that the team is keeping an eye on developing features like hand-tracking.
In February, Facebook’s Mike Verdu revealed that FitXR was one of Quest’s top non-gaming apps, with one of the highest retention rates on the platform. He added that “their sales have increased 535% YoY in Q4 2020, and their weekly active users have grown 4x since Quest 2 launched.” Clearly, the company sees that as proof enough it can take on other VR fitness subscriptions, like the $19-a-month Supernatural.