First of all, I’d just like to say that having discovered Zwift relatively recently I’m a complete convert. I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened for indoor/winter training. Congratulations on creating something really quite wonderful!
Thinking about it, cycling really lends itself to virtuality because the human interface with the virtual realm is very physcial (and thus involving), but also very simple - the act of pedalling feels much the same whether the bike is stationary indoors or moving outside, and the sensation of moving through a landscape on a road is (relative to many other things) easy to simulate.
I’m curious what Zwift’s future plans are for courses. By far my favourite course currently is Watopia. Partially this is because it includes some real climbs, and partially it’s because the slightly fantastical world partially compensates for the lack of reality. You can’t feel the sun on your face in Watopia or carve into a corner the way you would do on a real ride, but because the virtual world is effectively a hyperreality it can be slightly better than reality in other ways - buildings can be more fantastical, mountains pointier, etc, etc…To my mind this is definitely the direction to go for future courses, rather than trying to simulate real places such as London or Richmond. London in Zwift can never be as London-like as the real London, but Watopia provides something fantastical that doesn’t exist anywhere else, and on long dark weekday evenings at higher latitudes during the winter when there is horizontal sleet outside, that’s exactly what’s required for motivation!
I’m really excited by what COULD be done in Zwift. How about future cities with suspended roads and vast inhabited underground caves linked by tunnels, or alien planets with improbable topography (and perhaps lower gravity?). The balance would need not to go too far in the direction of the fantastical otherwise the simulation of real cycling could be compromised, but there’s a lot that could be done before that point was reached…