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Zwift Takes Gamification to Next Level With Cycling Controllers

Zwift Takes Gamification to Next Level With Cycling Controllers

The online fitness platform’s new controllers give Zwift players ultimate control

With new dedicated game controllers and a beta gaming experience that showcases its latest features, Zwift is pushing further into fitness gamification.

The immersive multiplayer online cycling and running platform, now valued at over $1 billion, has been on a mission to expand its subscriber base, intent on becoming the leader in the interactive cycling arena.

The launch of Zwift Play gets the virtual cycling platform that much closer to its goal, allowing riders to control their game directly from behind the handlebars, eliminating the need to reach for the screen.

Before the release of Zwift Play, players would control the experience through the Zwift Companion app, but the online fitness program noticed there could be room for improvement for its riders. While the app remains an integral part of the Zwift experience and ecosystem, allowing users to join clubs, events and message each other, Zwift Play offers an enhanced experience that keeps riders’ sweaty hands on their handlebars and off their devices. Zwifters who opt not to purchase the controllers will still find the same functionality they’re used to in the app.

The solution? placing the tools needed for the best gaming interaction right in the hands of Zwift players.

Silicone straps secure the Zwift Play controllers to the drop handlebars. The left controller has a directional pad, allowing for seamless game menu navigation. The directional pad gives Zwift riders the chance to select turns or U-turns while exploring the virtual worlds.

The right game controller has shortcut buttons laid out in a familiar way, so riders can keep their eyes on their virtual cycling journey while easily making menu selections. When riding, the buttons act as shortcuts to give Ride Ons, deploy PowerUps, skip workout blocks and the ability to teleport to Pacer Groups.

The new controllers also have paddles for steering and braking with just a simple motion. Players can shift the paddle inwards to brake and pull out to steer.

Zwift Play launches alongside a new beta Zwift Play Game experience, the first game of which is a refreshed Repack Rush, a beta game highlighting some of the new game control functions.

credit: Zwift

Zwift confirms that its riders can expect to see new game experiences rolling out and tested in the coming months.

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Eric Min, Zwift’s co-CEO and co-founder, has stated in the past that the company is considering going public at some point, sharing with Bloomberg earlier this year that he believes a sizable consumer base has yet to be reached.

“We have a long way to go until we’ve saturated the market and the cycling industry,” Min told the publication.

The online cycling platform launched its Zwift Hub, a smart trainer, in the fall of 2022, which provides a high-quality indoor riding experience. The hub was designed to give cyclists a lower-cost and easy-to-use piece of hardware that would open the doors to a premium experience in Zwift.

While Peloton may be viewed as a competitor, Zwift cyclists see a difference between the two fitness segments — one catered to the fitness-focused rider who enjoys a studio feel versus Zwifters, avid cyclists who prefer being immersed in a gamified and competitive world.

During the beta testing phase, Zwift Play is available for a limited time at a discounted price of $99/£99/€99. Zwift says the planned MSRP is $149/£149/€149.

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