For me Zwift was a great way to gamify indoor cycling in the first few years. Exploring all the routes, riding with friends, racing, and the big events like TdZ. As time has gone on and I’ve completed all of those things, the lack of innovation and improvement has made me fatigued with indoor riding in general. I’m left generally only riding for 2 reasons - workouts, and racing. If I am going to freeride I will now always choose outdoors.
Workouts are pretty much the same on any platform - what is happening with the avatar in the background is really irrelevant. I end up either focussing on the intervals or watching youtube or netflix. A platform needs to really innovate in the workout space - there’s a lot of riders that only really do workouts, and there are so many things that could be done to make workouts more involved/interesting/gamified.
Racing - pack dynamics improvements aside, which I admit are key, racing has not developed on Zwift AT ALL in the 5 years I’ve been on the platform. In 9 months IndieVelo has added pretty much everything I’ve wanted Zwift to add. Matchmaking, no categories, fully in-built race organiser tools available to everyone, custom kit available to everyone, in-game points, in-game team racing support, proper server-side positioning, elimination and kierin formats, real draft dynamics including trainer resistence control, etc etc.
Due to this I canned my Zwift sub in January. My overall indoor trainer usage has declined significantly, I do most of my structured workouts outdoors unless the weather is bad and then I watch netflix and use IndieVelo, which actually has better workout functionality than Zwift already (ERG smoothing, better display of upcoming intervals) despite not actually developing workout functionality properly yet). For racing it is a no-brainer to use IndieVelo even though the community events and numbers are not there yet. Even with (surprisingly smart) bots the race proposition is so much better.
This isn’t a shill for iV, or even bitterness towards Zwift, it’s just the truth. Once you’ve done the fun stuff on Zwift, the serious side is severely lacking for me, sample size of one. Zwift is focussing on the more casual rider who is happy to ride up and down fuego flats all day using a speed sensor to give them 400w with a big grin on their face. And that’s OK. The casual market is big. For me now I’m looking for a platform that can nail training and racing. Ideally that would also look great and have lots of fun modes, but not at the expensive of the core functionality.