Thai video game startup Runnex Technology combines fitness with fun

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Keerati Tanakitjaroenpat has been an avid player since childhood. His enthusiasm for mobile games led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2013, which gave him the skills to develop both PC and mobile games.

But it wasn’t until late 2019 that Tanakitjaroenpat was motivated to create his own game from scratch, after he and his friends from college realized they had put on weight after working full time. for several years. He became one of the co-founders of a video game studio called Runnex Technology in Bangkok. The firm released a game based on his vision. They called him fitforce.

Launched in May 2020, fitforce is a mobile game that combines fitness and fun, turning workouts into games that don’t require gym equipment or consoles. Players just need a cell phone as well as a laptop or personal computer. The game allows users to set up their exercise plans and track progress like calories burned in real time.

fitforce contains various mini-games where players practice to earn coins. Coins allow players to unlock skins to customize how their characters look in-game.

“Exercise can be boring. People need motivation. Exercise games could be helpful [to motivate people to work out]. But most fitness games require devices like VR gear or the Nintendo Switch. This is why the adoption rate remains low,” Tanakitjaroenpat said. KASIA.

Player fitforce, players need to install the application on their smartphone and personal computer. The game is projected on the laptop or PC screen after the smartphone scans a QR code. Players then hold the smartphone like a console controller and navigate obstacles.

Since its launch, the game has been downloaded over 100,000 times from Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Most users are Gen Z gamers, and they’re primarily located in Thailand, China, and the United States, according to Tanakitjaroenpat.

Despite the early traction, the company noticed that fitforce the number of active users fell by 50% to about 50,000 in October 2021. The drop in activity was an alarming sign for the Runnex team, who realized that many users found it cumbersome to use simultaneously smartphones and laptops.

To solve this pain point, Tanakitjaroenpat and his team are producing a new version of the game, aptly named Fitforce 2, slated to launch in July 2022. It will be a mobile-only game that will allow users to work out without holding a gadget at all, making it much more like a regular workout.

Unlike its predecessor, Fitforce 2 will work even without an internet connection. The new version will feature fantasy and role-playing elements where players will become heroes to battle monsters, according to Tanakitjaroenpat.

The game will be in direct competition with an array of titles that also mix exercise with video game scenarios, like Zombies, flee!, an immersive racing mobile game launched in 2012, and HomeCourt, a game that records and tracks basketball shots and misses to help players improve their skills. There is also Pokemon Go, where players must wander to hunt and capture Pokémon.

Tanakitjaroenpat said the success of video game consoles and fitness games like Nintendo Switch and Ring Fit Adventure demonstrates strong market demand for games that force players to move their bodies. The firm plans to monetize the game with a freemium model that carries a monthly subscription of $7.99.

Runnex is currently seeking to raise $1 million in a Series A round. They aim to close the investment by the end of 2022. Previously, the company purchased $250,000 from Thai VC N-Vest Venture in October 2020.

Runnex Technology was among ten finalists in the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Singapore-Thailand Demo Day held on January 11.

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