Eric Friedman, chief technology officer and co-founder of Fitbit, addressed the crowd gathered at yesterday’s Discovery Vitality Summit 2015 on the topic of big data and the how Fitbit became such a successful device.

During his keynote address Friedman reminisced about the days before Fitbit, and how the idea for the device was born. He revealed that the inspiration for Fitbit came from gaming, more specifically the Nintendo Wii.

How exactly did Nintendo’s console inspire Friedman and FitBit co-founder James Park? “It transformed gaming into something that appealed to multiple age groups and both genders,” Friedman said during the talk.

He went on to explain how the Wii changed gaming from a passive activity into something that got people off the couch and moving, which in turn inspired him to do something similar, but with the goal of getting people to move a little more than they usually would.

The Wii got us off the couch and dancing around the living room
The Wii got us off the couch and dancing around the living room

These factors combined with, as Friedman puts it, “the magic of data”, which contributed to not only the success of Fitbit but to its ever-growing user base. He said people are more inclined to use a Fitbit wearable because it requires minimal effort on their part to sync and track data.

Friedman went on to say that “People tell me they’re obsessed with their Fitbit”, and when you combine achievements, badges and the competitive spirit of modern-day humans, it’s not hard to see why people go gaga over Fitbit.

And it must be working, because thanks in part to the 4.5 million wearables sold, yesterday Fitbit reported total earnings of $400.4 million.

When you think about it, Fitbit is actually a game in which improving your health is the main objective, whose graphics are incredibly detailed and whose particle effects are especially good. We’d give it an 8 on those alone.

Now if Fitbit could just fix the respawn issues and patch the global economy, we’d be more inclined to give it a 9…

[Image – Discovery / CC 2.0 – BagoGames]