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Currently submitted to: Journal of Medical Internet Research

Date Submitted: Feb 7, 2020
Open Peer Review Period: Feb 7, 2020 - Apr 3, 2020
(currently open for review)

Developing a virtual reality exergame to engage adolescents with physical activity: early intervention development process

  • Nuša Farič; 
  • Lee Smith; 
  • Henry WW Potts; 
  • Katie Newby; 
  • Andrew Steptoe; 
  • Abi Fisher; 



Adolescence (13-17 years) is a key developmental stage for physical activity promotion (PA), but it remains unclear what works to change PA in this group. Virtual reality (VR) exergaming is a promising intervention strategy to engage adolescents with physical activity.


We hypothesise that a multicomponent intervention with VR exergaming at the core could increase physical activity in adolescents. However, substantial intervention development work is required.


The vEngage study involves collaboration between academics and commercial games designers and employs a staged, mixed-methods approach to intervention development, combining traditional research processes and iterative game design processes. This protocol reports on our experiences of the methods and procedures for the initial development phases of the intervention. Ethics and Dissemination: The results from each work package have been disseminated through peer-review publications and scientific presentations. Ethical approval for each work package has been obtained through the University College London Research Ethics Committee.


This project developed a novel intervention involving VR exergaming with embedded elements designed to engage adolescents in physical activity. The unique academic and industry partnership from the outset, support from public health funders, and involvement of users and stakeholders throughout has been crucial to success.


This project is a world first attempt to develop a VR exergame designed to engage adolescents with PA, embracing academic-industry collaboration. We proposed and described very early development work in order to raise awareness of the study, and still open up possibilities and invite other researchers and industry partners to link with us. As such we welcome potential collaboration, and input on our planned and future work.


Please cite as:

Farič N, Smith L, Potts HW, Newby K, Steptoe A, Fisher A

Developing a virtual reality exergame to engage adolescents with physical activity: early intervention development process

JMIR Preprints. 07/02/2020:18161

DOI: 10.2196/preprints.18161


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