I don’t think I’ve seen anything that suggests the idea isn’t that you can ride with others, and I don’t think “Magic Roads” is their focus. One of the founders said on Facebook:
It could theoretically be used exactly like Magic Roads, but our approach will probably be different, where the community will suggest new routes and those routes will be rotated weekly – at least initially. We want to give people a chance to ride, train and compete together in the same world.
The video above is more describing how they can procedurally build roads from a combination of Open Street Maps data and machine learning/AI to - I would guess - rapidly produce new roads.
The teaser does show groups of riders:
Of course, any new platform will be a relatively sparsely populated place at first. It was the same with Zwift. I have screenshots from 2015 showing me riding with 30 people on the Watopia loop - which actually meant I only had blue ghosts for company most of the time.
I totally agree on the “riding with others” point though, and I’ve oft cited that as a reason I never stuck long with RoadGrandTours, Rouvy or anything. To my mind, none of the alternatives I’ve tried offered me a compelling reason to use them more than the occasional novelty.
But if something like Fondo could offer that new experience, they they might eventually make inroads. At least to the extent they can survive long term, even if they have 5% of the market and Zwift has 80%.
Two of the things some people diss Zwift for are its graphical style, and the slow rollout of new roads. Both of those might be aspects Fondo competes well on. Maybe they won’t care about racing, and focus on the immersive experience. There are plenty of people who’d be fine with that.
I also agree there’s room in the market for different products offering different things; but I also think they’re all competitors to Zwift, albeit maybe in different ways. IndieVelo might focus on the racing/physics experience more so, Fondo on the “photorealistic” immersive scenery etc.
Anyway, it’s vapourware as far as we know so far. Looks cool though, and the sort of thing I’d be trying to do if I had the skills, time and inclination.