Victa: Fitness Adventure. Make your health a game

Alexander Karbankov
6 min readJan 1, 2023

Space

Hi! I’m Alex, and I want to tell you about my dream product.

Victa — is the first gaming fitness tracker. We created it to help people start taking care of their health and, hopefully, help them feel better and prevent illness. It’s already available in the App Store.

Here is a brief overview of emotional and rational parts of the product. Currently, trying apps for any health domain [fitness, nutrition, sleep, etc] you face quite basic problems:

  • Long-term effort necessity
  • Complex and frightening data
  • Simply boring tiresome solutions

The step-by-step path to solve them, as I see it, is in:

1. Providing top-notch motivation

We use several scientifically based mechanics without questionable approaches such as “move-to-earn”.

  • Anchoring effect — you definitely noticed that maintaining discipline under at trainer’s watch or together with a friend is much simpler than alone. It’s one of the most effective methods and it can be reproduced with a character, what was proved by our colleagues from Replika. We also are going to provide a possibility to talk to your Avatar via NLP chatbot, however, we decided to begin with a several different scenario-based characters to create sticky factor as soon as possible and drastically improve first day retention.
  • Compulsion loop — nothing can be better than a juicy reward after each training you’ve done overcoming laziness and weather. Properly implemented dopamine cycles create stairs maintaining you through the whole long-term journey. Each user, who sticks to their schedule, goes out for a run regardless of conditions or just makes their first steps, should be told that they truly are a hero.
  • Pseudo-set framing — running is quite a monotonous and boring process, so to create an additional layer of purpose and fun we are implementing lots of mechanics based on a map. Now you can find and pick up rare artifacts, which can change the visuals of your Avatar. The desire to collect them all and complete a set will push you forward, especially when you find out what else they impact on.
Onboarding, Training completion, Inventory

2. Making data as clear as possible

We adhere to simple data approach, clear metrics and easy-to-understand graphs.

  • Levels — Avatar’s progression mirrors you and allows to understand your current condition easily. They are based on a distance you walk or run and might be lowered if you skip training sessions for a long time. In the future we will also adjust level criteria based on your personal parameters [weight, height, age, etc] to calculate distance to your good shape and “efficiency plateau”.
  • Simple graphs — as a tracker we provide comprehensive and intuitive analytics based on a history of your training to help more deeply overview your progress. We collect distance, time, calories, speed, pace, gained altitude and steps and give access to very user-friendly graphs to monitor your achievements. More profound professional data [heartrate, saturation, etc] is going to be collected soon.
  • Lightweight interface — as far as we have to combine lots of content with an UI, in order to merge them properly the weight should be redistributed in favor of the content. That’s why our UI kit basically comprises minimalism, brutalism and glassmorphism in order not to distract users from the main events on a screen.
Level visualization; Training metrics; Quests on the map

3. Telling a great engaging story

Have you ever seen a movie, which requires you to run to advance through the story? We created a brand-new immersive universe: it has its own laws of physics, history, political structure… and heroes.

  • Avatar — your buddy and a superscout with whom you become bound by the will of fate. We create them based on the different character archetypes to cover broader audience requests. They are the best warriors of the Vanguard Corps, an advanced militarized organization and a major political force of the Empire. Each of them has their own story.
  • Series — the way you go through the story of your Avatar. You receive access to a new episode after completing a training session. This is one of the main rewards, which pushes story a little bit further. Do you want to find out what has bounded you to your Avatar? What have they just faced during onboarding in the app? How the energy you spend during training would help them in the future?
  • Game — as I mentioned before, on the map you can find some curious artifacts, teleport them to your Avatar and change their appearance. But why do you need them apart from just visuals? Stand by.
Story sneak peek

→ Frankly speaking, fitness, running and even walking are rather boring and exhausting. Apparently, therefore, many of us choose music as the way of entertainment and distraction on a long run. Our aim is to increase the levels of awareness during fitness routine and keep ourselves motivated by making additional layer of purpose.

Let’s help our Avatars win!

Ground

Now let’s discuss more mundane things and decompose the topic in a more fundamental way.

Preconditions

What main markers can be revealed by a brief market analysis?

  • Digital Health market is growing — investments in Digital Healthcare quadrupled in total value from 2019 to 2021. Obviously, in 2022 the investment environment is more conservative, but there is no evidence of decline in a number of small deals and there are markers of growing interest in immersive solutions.
  • Mobile Gaming market is growing — investments in Mobile Gaming tripled in total value from 2020 to 2021. Surely affected by the current crisis, such skyrocketing market is not going to slow down for a long time.
  • People are growing — first-born Millennials are reaching 40 years old milestone already and obviously growing interest in their health. Let’s not forget about their smartphone adoption [~93%] and positive attitude to games.

→ Fundamental markers of growth are temporary suspended but still here.

Approach

First and main metric, which statistically significant growth you need to prove, is retention. It’s quite a simple way to highlight that you can build strong competitive unit-economy.

Firstly, we tested our hypothesis via a simple Telegram bot. We gathered and custdeved 200 clients to understand if character’s story applies the Anchoring effect. While half of the respondents expected more tracker features to find it useful, the second half actually told us “Yes”.

  • Fitness — we started from running and walking, because this domain has the biggest TAM/SAM/SOM and no “device wall”. So to start tracking, user needs nothing but a smartphone.
  • Model — having a fintech background we preliminary calculated all potential scenarios from pessimistic to a whoppingly good one. We have spent months on it, but polishing never ends.
  • Virality — listening to experts with a huge experience we expected to face a red ocean in paid-channels acquisition. That’s why we pay meticulous attention on viral features in a product development.

→ Overlapping of a Digital Healthcare & Mobile Gaming markets is a blue ocean with a few but successful competitors [e.g. Fitness RPG, Walkr, Zombies Run, Replika and, surely, Pokemon Go], however, each of them have focused mostly on a gaming side.

Let’s hit the sweet spot!

Team Victa

P.S. We’ve already soft launched and currently are preparing for further exciting steps. Stay tuned for new articles and coming updates! Also, feel free to reach out to us via hello@victa.ai with any product questions or partnership inquiries: we are fundraising right now!

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