Its genius marketing. You are at a disadvantage … unless you buy a Zwift Controller.
The trouble with it is it’ll put some people off zwift so they’ll lose subscribers - that affects everyone as events will have fewer riders which makes zwift less attractive as the main reason many chose it over say RGT was you could jump in an event pretty much any time.
I really don’t think many users want a pedal powered version of mario kart - for most it’s still about training/fitness with other riders providing motivation to push harder on the pedals.
This is the exact reason that Zwift is so brilliant. A large variety of different things to do. Some people like racing, group rides, workouts, climb portals, or even mario carts. You take from it what you want, or any combination.
I absolutely love it.
There’s no real difference with other things throughout the games structure. Special bike and wheel combos / rider weight and height / locked routes / inability to buy what you need to win in the drop shop… add steering to this however you need to buy a steering device to be able to use it.
It’s a game and racing / riding on Zwift will always be easier for someone that understands the game the best.
Keep building your knowledge / fitness and strength it’s fun.
Or a steering device from a third party - so maybe not so genius.
And that’s the reason they did away with the original version of a phone using the companion app mounted on the handlebars and a bodged up turntable under the front wheel