Could this be the all-in-one VR fitness platform we’ve been waiting for?
Within, the California-based developer behind our favorite AR storytelling app Wonderscope, this week announced its latest project, Supernatural, an all-in-one VR fitness experience which features on-demand full-body workouts and expert coaching by real-world trainers. There’s even a dedicated companion app you can pair to your favorite wearable tech.
“When my Within co-founder Aaron Koblin and I realized we had developed dad-bods without having any actual children, we knew we had to do something,” said Within Founder & CEO Chris Milk during an interview with Oculus. “Neither one of us was fond of or good at sticking with exercise. We disliked the rigmarole of going to the gym and didn’t think the home fitness solutions out there were particularly fun. We wanted the benefits of exercising regularly, but we didn’t enjoy the short-term activity necessary to get those long-term results.”
The experience itself is centered around gamified dance routines similar to that of existing VR rhythm games such as Beat Saber and OhShape. Players use a pair of VR bats to hit a series of monochromatic targets while simultaneously navigating their bodies through glowing triangular tunnels, resulting in a full-body cardio workout that promises to leave their arms and legs aching. Unlike Beat Saber, however, players aren’t alone during their virtual workout; accompanying them are professional fitness trainers there to help guide them through their sessions. The app even tracks the players’ personal power range, rewarding them when they make especially strong swings.
New workouts will be available on a daily basis as part of Supernaturals’ subscription service, which will be offered at a discounted introductory rate of $20 per month upon the launch of the app and will include a free trial. These training sessions will feature music by popular artists and take place within various photorealistic landscapes, including a serene mountain top and the lost Incan citadel of Machu Picchu.
“We wanted to come out with a fully formed exercise platform. That meant committing to a broad pipeline of new workouts, the creation of new workouts with new songs in new worlds, and making them available on a daily basis,” continued Milk. “It takes time, resources, a great team, and a lot of infrastructures to produce daily content, but we knew it was worth the investment.”
“Equally important is having music you already know and love—music that makes the body move instinctively. It’s so fundamental; we felt there was no way we could compromise and had to launch with it. We wanted people to have that feeling of surprise and delight when a song comes on that they love. The movement maps are essentially gamified dance, and—let’s be honest—you wouldn’t want to go to a club and only dance to songs you’ve never heard before.”
Accompanying the VR experience is a dedicated companion app players can use to track their fitness progress. This includes the ability to pair wearable Bluetooth tech to monitor heart rates, as well as schedule workouts and compete with friends on the platform.
“We built an entire ecosystem that gives people an extraordinary workout experience that gets them excited to come back every day. That includes coaching, a mobile companion app, leaderboards, and Bluetooth heart rate integration. The companion app can also set reminders in your calendar and lets you connect with and challenge your friends. We wanted to make this as intelligent as possible, so it uniquely calibrates to you specifically: your body, your effort, and your optimal heart rate.”
Supernatural will be available on Oculus Quest headsets April 23rd.