Zwift roadmap communication and Wahoo-RGT

Zwift have been pretty coy historically, keeping their cards close to their chest on what their long term vision is for the platform. Maybe sensibly so with the rowing (etc etc etc) faux pas. They have also been able to get away with such an approach with no real alternative. However the news last week has shaken all of that up - Zwifters now have an alternative, and one that will undoubtedly become more attractive over the coming months. They can switch platforms at a whim (no annual subscription offer from Zwift is bonkers) and so sharing a longer-term roadmap is now not just a nice-to-have from the community’s perspective, it is a key marketing tool for Zwift too keep users on board.

So, Zwift - is there a plan? What are the high level things you are working on? What can we look forward to? What is going to stop me jumping ship?

Unfortunately without this, Zwifters will assume the future is an extrapolation of past performance, which doesn’t play in Zwift’s favour. The state of Zwift at the start of the next winter season will be critical.

State of play, May 2022

Functional Differentiators
Zwift Wahoo-RGT
Open world free rides Drafting and cornering dynamics
Pace partners Magic roads
CdA calculations Elimination races
More engaging scenery Adjustable GUI
Steering*
Level / reward system

I will update this over time to see how the two are progressing.

I cant see Zwift providing any sort of long term plans or features to look forward to, they haven’t previously so there is no reason to think that will suddenly change due to a bit of competition, if they start giving us roadmaps they’ll just be hammered with why hasn’t this been done on date x like you said etc

hopefully this healthy competition now for subscribers might actually make Zwift do some game enhancements/features that people have asked for such as a customisable hud

A roadmap does not need to be specific changes with dates, it can just be a vision. Short term, medium term, long term.

Examples of things that may be on the roadmap for the rest of the year:

  • Watopia expansion
  • Makuri expansion
  • Full steering deployment - with software and hardware options
  • New race modes
  • Wider GUI development including HUD
  • Dynamic pace partners

Longer term:

  • New ride dynamics model
  • Race organiser toolkit
  • New world
  • Velodrome
  • Rowing*

I don’t really like RGT in its current guise, but if they start consistently dropping new features and improvements I will switch in a heartbeat. The same reason I dropped Garmin for Wahoo, and the same reason I will shortly drop Wahoo for Hammerhead Karoo.

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It does not need to be detailed with dates but at least some idea of what is being worked on.

Taking clubs as a better example they are listing what they are actively working on and responding to new feature requests.

This is unlike anything else on Zwift though. Just take a browse in the feature request pages no matter how many votes an idea gets zwift don’t respond. Bugs go unfixed, new features take an age to rollout (e.g new UI)

While i have no plans to leave zwift if wahoo get their act together and start pushing RGT development i can see others moving. especially if the free option remains

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I think if anything Wahoo buying RGT makes this kind of announcement less likely, why tell your competitors what you’re up to so they can beat you to it?

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Especially when we know RGT has been able to respond quite swiftly to requests and feedback.

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A valid point, but there are plenty of things that would not really offer that option.

Mind you, announcing something is coming and a competitor beating you to it would suggest a real problem with agility!

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Fixed it for you

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all Wahoo has to do is comb this forum to figure out everything it needs to do to pull users from Zwift, it’s not that much of a secret is it? I’m sure Wahoo has already completed it’s research too.

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shhhhhhhh don’t give the game away!

Zwift’s plan: furiously digging out from under a mountain of technical debt, while not really caring what their competitors are doing.

Why? Because (to paraphrase Winston Churchill)

"Democracy Zwift is the worst form of government – MMORPG cycling game except for all the others that have been tried.”

Having tried RGT, Kinomap, and Rouvy, they’re cold and lifeless compared to Zwift. The onscreen avatars fall into the “Uncanny Valley”, there are virtually no other “live” riders - it’s mostly bots - and any technical comparison of graphic quality between the two completely ignores that RGT is deeply un-fun compared to Zwift.

There’s a lot I’d like to see Zwift do (a Companion App UI cleanup would be nice) but I’m not leaving the platform. Zwift could completely ignore all communication as long as the system “just works” whenever I hop on my bike and I’ll keep using it. I suspect I’m in the silent majority on this one.

/end gonzo rant

(edits - typos and grammar)

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Are they a game or a training platform? I think the more they consider themselves a game, the more they lose the long term battle & market.

The market is cyclist / fitness based & gaming comes second after the physical endeavours, probably need to remember that at some point.

Its very hard to find anyone who speaks highly of anything EA does, but yet their games are still “some” of the biggest selling games in their market, feels like Zwift want to become EA at times.

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I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on that.

I think most people using Zwift do it to have fun while staying fit, emphasis on fun. That silent majority isn’t active here on the Zwift forum.

If you’re a hardcore athlete you might use Zwift but you could just as easily use a non-gamified Garmin or TrainerRoad tool or plan - and many people do run Zwift in parallel with that.

If Zwift buys TrainerRoad as rumored, they’ve bought a fairly wide moat against their competition in the training space. (one fee for both, no reason to look at Wahoo’s SYSTM etc)

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RGT is deeply un-fun compared to Zwift.

Freeriding in the open worlds is currently pretty boring, but it’s got potential. I did one of their E-Fondo events back in January, which uses courses from the real Gran Fondo National Series. There were about 60 riders (no bots!). Groups formed naturally, and we communicated to organize rotating pacelines (it doesn’t just happen - you have to put some effort into it) through the timed segments. Right now, that’s an experience you can’t really get on Zwift.

If RGT spruces up their graphics and grows their community to enable more experiences like that, it would be as fun as Zwift if not better.

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Id say emphasis is on fit over fun - Fun is the marketing term Zwift wants to sell to people.

If they buy Trainerrioad they move more towards becoming a training platform and become a more serious\mature in their offering.

The thing about the silent majority is, their silent you cant make assumptions on their behaviour or preference.

Custom bots are one more differentiator for RGT. There are different use cases for them, from making sure that races or the free ride worlds don’t feel completely deserted, to something a bit like the pace partners on Zwift. Personally I tend more towards the latter, I do “group rides” with me and ~20 bots on an undulating and technical crit course. The bots are constant power ones (the “real” ones are total wheelsuckers so not fun to draft) but across a fairly narrow power range so that the weakest ones can in principle draft the strongest ones, and then I’ll do my best to break the pack apart bit by bit. Of course after a while the slow ones rejoin the pack after getting lapped and the fun continues.

As for actual games, something like Hustle City is in a whole other level compared to both Zwift and RGT. Riding in traffic feels very realistic, indeed too realistic in that having to slow down and/or stop all the time in order not to crash tends to get too much in the way of getting a decent workout, just like IRL urban riding.

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They virtually admitted to doing this in the press release briefings. From DCR:

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I’ve been on Zwift for about 7.5 years now and have been trying me best to leave but just can’t (yet). Having tried all the others there’s just no stand out alternative. Sure some of them have features that I’ve been wanting Zwift to implement for years but on the flip side they don’t have a lot of what Zwift does. So instead I’ll just cancel my subscription for the 6 months of the year I don’t really need it…until Zwift comes up with an annual plan.

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This is certainly the state of play. Let’s revisit the situation at the end of the year…

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I think there’s a lot of wait and see what happens with RGT subscription numbers before there is any noticeable impact on Zwift. If Wahoo can invest in RGT dev and sort out how wahoo systm and RGT will integrate then maybe more events and more activity will occur and they’ll look like more of a competitor.