There have been many complaints about the speed of development and also the quality of what has been created. If he is responsible for this, it may be one of the reasons.
I think Zwift’s quality degradation could be due to a layoff in 2020. Looking at some of their bug fixes, it looks like spaghetti code.
I’d say it’s more about starting with a proof-of-concept-y foundation and never bothering to prioritize properly refactoring the whole thing to something more robust and modern. It should probably have been done something like 5 years ago, but instead continuing to develop on top of that results in something probably even Jon can’t completely figure out anymore.
Also, generally when there are layoffs, even among those not laid off, the most qualified employees who have other options tend to start leaving.
A good pal of mine once said that but two things are infinite on web forums: virologists and software architects.
Before we all start thinking there is anything good about this , now they will be putting all there attention to the platform instead. This is a very bad state of affairs for zwift , zwift employees and us humble zwift supporters and customers
This is not a strategic move , it is the result of cold hard reality of all the investment money having run out , not that it is being transferred to something else.
Making this decision 2 years ago when it was clear to many observers this day was coming , would have been strategic. Now its going to be a very rocky road trying to get investment in to do what hasn’t been delivered in this time . On top of that , this is not the only major market announcement in the last month or so linking hardware and software virtual cycling platforms . And there plans for that Cycling platform look like they have visited this forum and lifted all the long term asks and delivery failures and put them into there press release on what they intend to do.
And on that last note ; Zwift is probably looking very exposed and now ripe for acquisition and it could be a certain hardware vendor may well be tempted if only to counter that…
You are 100% correct in your assertions, it is never good when people are let go and a division is closed down. Having said that, many start-ups were able to cross the chasm when they shifted gears and validated the larger market was different than the market they were currently serving.
I am new to Zwift, it was recommended to me by a partner and I have no interest in training, just biking every day in some capacity. All my other biking friends do not use Zwift, they are simply not interested, and basically all my friends bike.
Zwift is going to have to decide how to grow the user base more effectively. Obviously, hardware was not a viable opportunity moving forward financially.
Having said that, Zwift is a great platform. Many excellent features have been built. However, there are many features that only appeal to road cyclist and offer nearly zero appeal to gravel riders, mountain bikers, and those into cyclocross.
Nearly all the real world revenue growth in the last 2 years has been in gravel bikes and e-bikes. Gravel bikers are interested in their endurance ability to perform but are not interested at all in racing or training. E-bikers, let’s be honest, they do not care at all about their ability to perform, they don’t need to train, they have a lithium battery.
Basically, if half the cycling world goes lithium battery, the other half that is human battery is going to have to adapt. Zwift can push training as the holy grail, or Zwift can finally throw a few bones to other cyclists.
Time will tell how Zwift moves forward. Personally, I think spending time modeling more bikes is not time well spent. A better use of time would be to develop a sales force that generates in game advertising. Sorry to break it to the purists, that is the entire business plan of Facebook/Instagram and Google. They simply don’t program software for free, and surprisingly, they have no desire to charge the user, they charge those publishing virtual advertising space on their platform.
When I ride Zwift, I see ample space to promote various biking companies, component manufactures, real world events, etc, etc. Just because purists do not like advertising does not mean it is not desired. Many people like looking at in game advertisements, just look at the Super Bowl and what makes it a Billion Dollar Game.
What makes you think the bikes (wheels, etc.) in game are not in-game advertising?
A better use of time would be to develop a sales force that generates in game advertising. Sorry to break it to the purists, that is the entire business plan of Facebook/Instagram and Google. They simply don’t program software for free…
Facebook/Instagram and Google don’t charge their users $15/month.
Right, they probably make WAY more $$$$$ than that with the user data they sell to their “real customers”. We users are the “product” in that case. Two VERY different scenarios here that are not directly comparable IMO.
When I ride Zwift, I see the balloon, a Zwift balloon, and Zwift signs, and Zwift this, and Zwift that. My brain does not expect to see the same sign over and over again, it expects to see variability of advertisements, that is what I am acculturated to. Zwift does not need to go gang busters, but bike frames are boring overall, and the subcategories of bike frames are not the key to profits, it is not how bikes are sold. Bikes are sold through bike shops with relationships that match the brand, the rider, and the specific bike.
Zwift needs to develop software where the virtual signs are sold, and in real time the advertiser can see who is passing those signs, and then somehow, in some way, when you search anything related to biking on your browser, etc, etc, anything sign you passed shows up in your advertising feed. That is exactly what google is doing and why they are so profitable.
Facebook and Google don’t need to charge, they have a very solid advertising model. The question will be the success of MyWoosh, will they need to charge? Do they have enough financial prowess to arrange for virtual sponsors that attract virtual racing spectators and in game racers to their platform with real in game purse money?
Good thing that Zwift’s biggest market is probably Germany and there the attitudes towards (and indeed also laws regulating) surveillance capitalism aren’t quite as permissive as in some other countries.
Some of the higher-profile RGT races (the Echelon Racing League for one) have static custom in-game advertising from the race organizer.
I cannot for the life of me fathom why a paying customer would be arguing in favour of more advertising, and specifically wanting intrusive, targeted marketing. Utterly bizarre.
MyWhoosh is funded by one of the Gulf states so their financial prowess is mainly a matter of keeping sheikh whatever happy. (Still only available for iOS, isn’t it?)
Consumers are increasingly aware of how their personal data is gathered, used and sold. Privacy is becoming a growing concern and companies like Apple will continue to introduce and promote features that amplify these concerns.
A better business model would be for Zwift to go all in on safeguarding its customer’s data rather then selling it to the highest bidder. I view data about where and how I Zwift as mine and don’t expect it to be monetized.
yeah, seems very weird, i could see an argument for having adverts and not paying or paying less but to have adverts and pay just seems very strange.
I’m of the opinion zwift and more likely strava could do a lot more with the data you provide to enrich your experience whilst not spamming you to death with advertisements.
Strava have an entire market available to them that they seem to be failing to capitalise on.
Zwift, at some point in the future will have a huge lake of data that could be used to improve cycling plans, training and in form the market of actual users activity rather than algorithms based on clicks etc…
It just has to take the risk and expand into it and for them to decide if they are a game or cycling platform.
I’m kind of ok with anonymised data out of the back of my activities being used by zwift to inform the market, I am after all using a 3rd party system to collect and store all that data.
I’d rather not tracked advertising outside of the zwift sphere, in fact I’m pretty against that.
Many top people in the world that watch sports desire advertising. The advertising is a way that important products are communicated to the public. I love watching advertising more than most American Programing. I occasionally have to watch CNN and Fox News in a professional setting having lunch. I find the advertisements fascinating and don’t care for the programming.
You also need a vivid symbol, and in animation, that symbol is an animal, Disney has Mickey Mouse, Nintendo partnered and developed Pokemon, Pocket Monsters, it is a symbol the company can invest in, immediately identifiable.
The bottom line, Gaming Software Companies provide media to the masses. I don’t think you have to be greedy about it, but in-game advertising can be sold on a regular basis and offset the cost of the platform for the users. It is what is happening at every bike race, at every Nascar race, at every formula one race, the sponsors pay you, you don’t pay them. That is because you “own the eyeballs”.
Pokemon is estimated to be the highest grossing franchise of all time. For for what it is worth, and I don’t play with Pokemon cards, 100 Billion Dollars in franchise revenue, that commands my attention and respect and keeps the lights on.
When you are advertising, say SRAM, or Shimano, you are not sharing any user data, you are respecting user privacy. If a person goes into the virtual bike shop, and builds their virtual bike with SRAM or Shimano components for fun, then you have solid data about in game preferences that translates to real world buying behavior, you are not selling their health care data, their heart rate data, the power data, that is all private. You are reasonably monetizing an in game material preference by aggregating and analyzing meta data. Apple does this all the time. It is part and parcel of running a media company. Disney needs to know what people are watching. Netflix abruptly cancelled the remake of Cowboy Beepop based upon metadata feedback, the ratings. Ask the people who ‘loved the show’, of course they are going to swear by it, greatest show ever. But overtime, the market unfortunately dictates what the media company will provide. Go with the market, it is riding your bike down hill, go against the market, it is riding you bike constantly uphill, day after day. In game advertising is innovative. It is worthwhile to consider and explore as a legitimate feature that offsets the cost of future software development.