The North American introduction of Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) in 1999 was truly the start of a revolution in kinetic video gaming. Guitar Hero later emerged in 2005 with its multi-generational genres of classic rock. Soon to follow suit in 2007, Rock Band further built upon the incredibly popular platform of digital instruments cued to audiovisuals. Today, the hopeful Virtual KnockOut (VKO) seeks to continue the revolution into the fitness arena, namely boxing. Pete Gustin, the founder of VKO, had just finished a boxing work out with his trainer and was recouping on the couch when his daughter began to play Rock band. The synapses connected and the Virtual KnockOut was born.
Virtual KnockOut has several stand-alone offerings. The first is an application that can be downloaded to any iOS or Android device. The app is a first-person boxing game. The trainer will send a series of lefts, rights, and hooks and the player will need to either tap (punch) or swipe (duck) in time with the visual cues. Beyond the application, VKO offers several versions of machinery to accommodate vigorous workouts of all skill levels. The Wall Banger unit is the most basic of the three models and can be acquired for as low as $299 if backed on its Kickstarter campaign page. The Studio model is made of elliptical tubing, is height adjustable, and comes with a securely fastened 15” tablet. Both models feature Bluetooth enabled pads with dual action springs. The Talk of The Town is an industrial unit targeted towards gyms and other commercial outlets and will boast an 18” monitor.
Mr. Gustin has been dabbling in entrepreneurial ventures for the past 13 years (the latter two involving the VKO). He has gained valuable insight from the successes and failures of past projects but most valuably, he understands the true power of connecting and collaborating with people. Gustin has brought several people together in the prototyping of the Virtual KnockOut—this is how the Bluetooth enablement became a reality and reduced the sale price by potentially thousands of dollars. “Instead of sitting on the couch dreaming about it, pick up the phone and bounce your ideas off of other experts”, explained Mr. Gustin in a brief interview with The Freshpreneur. Gustin has high hopes to gain share within the consumer, commercial and arcade markets as the Virtual KnockOut rolls out for production in October of this year.
Now that’s one solid KnockOut POP!