Announcing Zwift Play

Yes, I guess I was being somewhat disingenuous. I can’t see any reason collision detection would find its way into the free and group ride experiences, but for racing it would really change the dynamics (no pun intended) and tactics.

Totally agree now that a lot of people is going to get steering devices it makes sense to work on proper collision detection physics so that positioning is more important and also the PD problem with the blob and high speeds would end

Nah… @Verde_Espada More like a unit that simulates the Zwift Play towards Zwift and pairs to the smartbike taking inputs from the buttons already on the bike.

It can be done with a $10 piece of hardware and a LOT of coding, IF Zwift hasn’t encrypted the protocol, to ensure only they sell supported hardware.


It doesn’t sound like that’s the plan, as noted earlier in the thread.

This from DCR’s article:

Instead, Zwift has developed their own Bluetooth protocol for Zwift play, which they want to use going forward and will be open to 3rd parties to use for game accessories. They don’t have a ‘branded’ name for that protocol, as their “preferred option was taken”. However, as part of this, Zwift acknowledged that the current protocol/process for steering in Zwift wasn’t ideal, specifically in terms of hardware QA, as it required a lot of back and forth between Zwift and companies like Wahoo/Garmin/JetBlack/Elite/Stages/Wattbike etc… As anyone who has been following this space knows, that has been a proper dumpster fire (and unquestionably one where Zwift lit the match).

But, it sounds like Zwift agrees it sucked, and is trying to make it right. They’re still working on all the details, but confirmed the plan is that 3rd party companies will be able to use this open protocol in the future and that “we actually see this as a way to solve a number of headaches and remove the need for custom connection protocols to connect to Zwift.”

The proof of the pudding will be in the tasting though.

Thanks @Daren for clarifying that :pray:

That looks very promising, also for the maker community and quite far from what I would have expected to see from Zwift.
Let’s hope :crossed_fingers: reality matches the theory here :blush:


Looking forward to see the documentation in the next BLE protocol release.

But to be honest the electronics and software may be easy the hard part is making something as nice and practical as the play controllers.

Or the same but cheaper.

Not by much. These are $100. And probably mass produced.

Personally I would be more than happy to purchase the Zwift Play if I was on a road bike and a trainer - but installing those on a smartbike with buttons already available nah…
That’s why the “bridge” i mentioned before would be nice - maybe even a new firmware from the smartbike manufactures to natively support the new Zwift protocol :crossed_fingers:



:+1:t2: would be good to shift some of the burden to smart bike manufacturers by creating an open API and letting those customers pressure them for the integration


2 posts were split to a new topic: Zwift Play + Wattbike incompatibility - why?

You say “not by much” as if that’s a floor. Besides, $100 is $50 cheaper (than the full price), which is pretty substantial in my book. Mass production isn’t inherently bad.

1 Like

The discussion about the full 150 price looks silly.

The controllers are sold at 99 now. There is actually no way to pay 150 for them. So if you’re interest in buying them, you can only pay 99 for them.

The full 150 price is obviously a marketing ploy to trick people into buying them now, just to be sure to get the supposed 30% discount.
But Zwift is probably never going to ask 150 for them. They are not a hardware company. They want to make the whole experience better to have more people paying a subscription for longer. The Hub was exactly that. And so are the controllers.

You want them? Get them at 99. Simple.
And if they ask for 150 in a few weeks/months, and you didn’t get them previously when they were at 99, it’s on you. Sorry.

Also regarding the fact that they are too expensive for people using Zwift only during the winter. That smells a lot like entitlement.
It’s actually a good thing if the price tag is avoiding you to buy a tech gadget that will sleep in a drawer most of the year. Less resources wasted. The planet is thankful.
Zwift isn’t an NGO, they aren’t required to provide their products equitably.

Anyway, UPS is supposed to drop them tomorrow at my place. Very excited! :ride_on:

1 Like

They also ship to CANADA and its also FREE!! Zwift needs to step it up ffs.

I actually don’t think you’re wrong overall. I do think it’s unlikely there will be a $150 price point without some form of bundle to make the bundle look better. That said, you’re kinda propagating the “Get it now or else you might need to pay $150” with that statement to show exactly how this strategy works.

At the end of the day Zwift has signaled that these are worth $150 to them, and they can use that set-point to either incent people to buy at $99 early, or to pay more for a bundle later.

If you agree it’s worth what they say it’s worth, that’s fine, and I do expect a lot of people on these forums to be willing to pay that price. If you don’t, you can leave that feedback, and decide not to buy them for either $99, or $150.

I do think Zwift is going to have a push/pull in terms of how useful they make braking and steering. If it becomes over powered in races, and they can’t get most people to buy them, then it actually might become a dis-incentive to race. If they don’t give it any obvious advantage, then it’s not worth spending as much money on.

Hopefully a 3rd party controller comes out that is super cheap, to enable more of a critical mass for steering, I don’t think at the $99 or $150 price point you will see a critical mass out there. Guess we’ll see.

Another thing that would help a lot for non-steering users is inverting the assumption about the rider’s desire to draft. If a nearby rider steers to the side of the road, a non-steering user should just get behind them. It seems silly to have one rider steered to the side, and a non-steering rider just out there in the wind when a wheel is available. Makes no sense to me.


This might actually be the thing that makes me quit Zwift. The only reason I stay with Zwift is for the racing and if it turns into a case where the people with steering have a technological advantage over those who don’t then I can’t see myself staying on Zwift.

I recently did a race where one person had steering. They selected the TT bike and rode off the front at 5w/kg. Even if the rest of the race could keep up with that one person there was no way we could draft them because they could steer to the side of the road. It was a pretty stupid race.

Zwift is going to have to adjust their draft logic (as Paul above suggests) so that riders without steering automatically latch onto the draft of those who do otherwise racing is not going to be a level playing field.


FWIW, cyclists IRL who can steer over those who can’t, also have an advantage.


Did my first race with the Zwift Play controllers this afternoon. It’s a great step forward for AppleTV users like me who no longer need to reach for that remote.

One bug I noticed during the race was that my avatar kept veering off to the right without me touching the steering buttons. Is this a known bug? I saw it happening to Eric Schlange during his first race with Play too.

1 Like

FWIW, irl people with arms have an advantage over those that don’t.