Apptiv Games aims to make mobile games really mobile — through exercise

San Francisco-based startup Apptiv Games wants to incentivize exercise through mobile gaming.

The bootstrapped, four person team’s goal is to create games that will not only be fun and enjoyable by themselves, but will also encourage their players to be active. According to CEO Stephen Dick, although many fitness trackers have added gamified elements to their presentation, since those apps are still focused on measuring workouts, the “games” aren’t actually very much fun.

“We take a games first approach. If you can ‘gamify’ fitness, you should be able to ‘fit-ify’ games,” he says, explaining that Apptiv Games wants to harness the addictive nature of mobile gaming, and then use it to reward players for exercising.

Apptiv Games’ titles will track a user’s general activity, meaning a player won’t have to log a full workout or run every time they want to play. The games will be free-to-play and will monetize in a variety of ways depending on how they are designed, but most will utilize advertising and premium virtual currencies.  Apptiv is also planning to incorporate real-life rewards into its titles through providers like Kiip, says Dick, adding that the prospect of earning real rewards for exercising will provide even more motivation for players to get active.

The company’s first title will be an app called Apptivater. Currently scheduled for a fall release, Dick tells us Apptivator has been designed to showcase Apptiv’s social and fitness tracking technology. Although the app will be fun to use on its own, its primary job will be to collect user data and show how more full-featured mobile games could be built on top of Apptiv’s API.

According to Dick, Apptiv plans to license out its API to third party developers in addition to making its own games. The API will be compatible with both mobile and online games, which opens it up for a huge variety of tie-ins and product uses.

“One day,” he muses, “you might actually be able to go for a walk with your phone in your pocket and come home and log onto FarmVille to collect the ‘fruits’ of your labor.”