BattleSteps, a new fitness game from MIT Media Lab spinoff 12 Labs, is helping users gain massive increase in their daily steps.
With an increasing interest in everyday health and the growth of wearables like Fitbit, Garmin and Apple Watch to help users track their activity, step counting has become a standard for tracking your daily activity. A goal of hitting 10,000 steps a day is prized by many. The biggest issue with step counters is that after a few weeks, you lose interest and the wearable then lies unused in a corner, making you guilty.
That’s where BattleSteps literally steps in. The app matches you to a new walking opponent everyday. Opponents are picked by a smart algorithm based on your timezone, recent level of activity, and daily average steps. Battles last for 12 hours (usually 8 am-8 pm but start time is adjustable) and users get rewarded with stars for defeating their opponent every hour (3 stars for 1000+, 2 stars for 250+ and 1 star for 50+ steps). The overall winner of the day (based on higher total steps during the entire battle) also wins trophies (1 trophy for every 1000 steps) as well as bonus stars.
BattleSteps is engaging, both because of the suspense of getting a new opponent everyday, as well as the excitement of defeating the opponent every hour. In some sense, each of those hourly battles are a battle in their own right. The San Francisco Chronicle nominated bragging rights on defeating a friend at BattleSteps as one of the ‘ultimate status symbols’.
The app automatically syncs steps from your phone and Apple Watch in the background, so you don’t even need to open it. You can connect your Fitbit device to the app. Signup is quick, and the company provides fast customer support over their in-app messaging. Speaking of messaging, you can message your opponent and send them stickers, but also taunt or cheer them. Facebook integration allows you to invite friends from Facebook to sign up for the app.
12 Labs, the company behind BattleSteps, has another app – Applause – with over half a million downloads. The company has raised funding from star investors such as Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and Google Health founder Adam Bosworth among others. BattleSteps for Android will be launching on Nov 15.
BattleSteps has a fan following on the App Store, with a 4.5 star rating across 100 reviews. The app is free to download, and signup is required. You also need an iPhone 5s to later to use the app. The app is currently available in English and Spanish.
You can download the beta version of the app at www.battlesteps.com and use VIP access code APPOLICIOUS to instantly get off the waitlist.