According to researchers from the University of Massachusetts and Brigham Young University, playing games like Wii Sports and Dance Dance Revolution provides "moderate to vigorous exercise consistent with current physical activity recommendations." While this may not be the first study to show this (and it can't be any news to our long-time readers), it does show that these games are a means to get people to enjoy exercise.
What may be more important for the future of these games, however, is that this study lends credence to the idea that these games are actual exercise, and not just "waggling" a controller, or pushing buttons with your feet instead of your fingers.
From Brigham Young University's press release:
Below are the games tested, along with the average calories burned per minute of play.
Activity - calories burned per minute
Resting - 1.1 calories
Treadmill walking 3 mph - 4.4
Wii (Boxing) - 4.0
DDR (Thirteen) - 4.9
Cyber Trazer (Goalie Wars) - 5.5
Light Space (Bug Invasion) - 5.7
Sportwall - 6.2
Xavix (J-Mat) - 6.7
Note that the authors of this study compared the various games to the treadmill - a traditional form of exercise - and found that all of the games except Wii Sports' boxing out-performed it...and boxing was only 0.4 calories per minute behind the treadmill.
The full article is available at the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Game On: Video Games Give Kids a Solid Workout: [Livescience]