Zwift Considering $45/Month Plans and Huge List of New Features in Latest Survey

Zwift has sent out a survey to numerous members (including myself) that indicates they’re pondering multiple membership tiers, steering + braking, hosted audio-video workouts, premium racing leagues, and many more features. While the survey is of course meant to gather feedback to guide Zwift’s next steps, it ultimately gives a surprisingly wide-ranging view of some of the things Zwift is working on (or at least, considering).  And, in this case, it seemed to have also lit a fire of ire for many people that received it, as seen on Reddit, Zwift Riders, and other places.

First, and foremost – despite some speculation to the contrary (including from the CEO of Zwift itself on Twitter, since deleted), the survey is indeed legit and from Zwift. Zwift’s head of communications, Chris Snook, confirmed this later in the day, saying that “the survey is intended to help us understand the value of individual product features…”.

But more on all those features in just a moment. First, let’s dive into the piece that undoubtedly caused the most outrage – the payment tiers.

Proposed Payment Tiers:

The survey basically focused on two core things:

A) A multi-tier pricing and subscription model
B) The value of individual features being considered

Oh, also, it appears to let the cat out of the bag on not just one or two features, but an entire slate of things being planned. Which, come to think of it, seems to be a pattern of Zwift surveys lately. So in the future, if competitors wanna know what Zwift is planning – simply look at the survey they sent ya.

Now, at first glance (and 2nd, 3rd, and 8th glances), the survey outlines numerous scenarios where you basically pay more than you do today for features that you may or may not use. In particular, it presents 8 different scenarios to evaluate, each with three options. In all the scenarios there are features shown that have not previously been announced (such as instructor led workouts with video, or real coaches writing tailored training plans for your season with feedback on your workouts).

At the start of the survey they note the following, with my additive red box around an important bit of text:

On every subsequent page with options, they repeat the same “these are made up scenarios” wording. But, if there’s anything we as consumers know from years upon years of corporate communications: There’s no such thing as made up scenarios. At least not in the general sense. There’s a reason why Zwift is asking things, else, they wouldn’t be asking them.

Here’s the first of eight different pricing scenarios that came up. We’ll ignore the fact that the first option spells ‘Cycling’ incorrectly. In my case, due to being European based, the options are presented in Euros. For others, they’re presented as USD, GBP, and perhaps other currencies. The highest price I’ve seen for a plan was $44.99/month USD, and 39.99EUR/month (~$46USD).

You can hover over various little ‘info’ icons to get additional information on some of the proposed features. For example, this one for the ‘Group Rides & Activities’ line item, specifically the “Plus” option:

You’ll also note that all of the slides present a rowing option, something that Zwift has repeatedly hinted at, but not actually yet released.

And here’s another with racing bits for the ‘Premium’ option:

Now, we’ll circle back to my collection of ‘unseen features’ in a second. But for now, let’s keep talking about the pricing model. Essentially what you see ranges in price from 9EUR up to 39EUR, some billed annually, some not. Some with ‘1 or 2 months’ free. Some not. The combination of using billed annually and free months is confusing AF to my brain. Just write out the effective monthly price, please.

In any case, you’re required to select a package, even if they all suck. So, I did.

So in this case, I decided that I’d prefer multi-stage events over steering. I guess? Realistically, almost all eight of the different scenarios I got were horrible. A trend that almost everyone echoed online.

After which, you’re asked whether or not you’d buy that option. And every time I selected no.

Another, like this one, leaves you just puzzled. I have to choose between cycling at $9/month with steering/braking, but at $29/month I don’t get that feature?

About now, you’re probably asking yourself: What horrifically inept management consulting firm put together these scenarios?

And the answer, according to Zwift: A computer.

In discussing the lack of coherence with Zwift, the company said: “It’s important to note that the methodology requires randomness. These packages are not crafted by a human to make a nice coherent package of features. But the randomness and the large sample set should help us make sense of what people value.”

And while it’s true that computers can do fantastically impressive things with poor data sets, it’s also true that frustrating your user base is hardly the best way to go about gathering that information. After all, at no point during the survey did it ever ask you *WHY* you didn’t select that option. Or even ask you to rank these new features in order of importance (which would have gotten the information they were after in a much more direct manner).

This type of methodology is called a conjoint analysis, and has been used for years. This means that the options are entirely random within them. You can then take algorithms to (in theory) figure out the differing price points people might pay for various features. Assuming people didn’t just give-up due to the stupidity of the computer-created options.

Now, despite these scenarios being made up – here’s a simple gallery of all eight options I was presented with. It sounds like everyone is getting different options – so these again, will vary.

Again, we’ll get back to the new features in a second, but what was the intent behind the survey? Ask, and you shall receive.

Zwift said later, “The survey is intended to help us understand the value of individual product features – do people value mass participation events over racing for example. The pricing structures and tiers are irrelevant, but the methodology behind putting features at random behind different paywalls helps give us a better understanding of each product function.”

Certainly, Zwift wouldn’t be the first software platform to offer various pay levels. In fact, there’s many good reasons Zwift should consider that. After all, if they’re adding in features that include a real human coach that evaluates your race calendar, and comments daily on how well you executed your workout – that should cost more. Setting aside the scalability or potential quality of that, I think most reasonable people would agree that’s a substantially increased feature for those that want it. And thus, paying more makes sense.

Same goes for potentially expanding into areas currently occupied by TrainingPeaks, or Today’s Plan, or whomever. All things hinted at, and all things you may pay another service for today.

However, Zwift has to balance significant new premium features against undercutting the core of their subscription base. Or, against upsetting their most ardent supporters in the Zwift community, who widely took this survey as a massive slight against them.

Now, whether or not Zwift raises prices, adds tiers, or does any of this remains to be seen. It doesn’t take a fancy survey company though to realize some of it will be done. They wouldn’t be considering this many options to not do any. Plus, as pointed out by numerous individuals, with CEO Eric Min hinting at an IPO, having higher tier pricing to increase cash flow projections for potential investors.

Finally, note that while Zwift says the pricing structures in the survey are irrelevant, the reality is that some human put a cap in that survey structure for pricing. So to presume they aren’t considering a $40/month tier (the same as Peloton), would be fanciful. Of course they are, otherwise they would have put the cap at $30/month (or $60/month). Whether or not they settle on such a tier is the real question.

All The New Features:

But, let’s ignore the computer randomizations for a moment, and instead focus on the concrete: Numerous new feature ideas Zwift has floated.

Again, some of these are undoubtedly just ideas. Things that may or may not come true. Others are things Zwift has confirmed or talked about repeatedly (for example, rowing and steering). But, they’re all things that weren’t created by a computer.

No, these were things that a human put together as plausible features, likely backed by internal roadmap summits, in-person meetings, conference calls, and all assortment of thinking and analyzing. That’s the way companies work, and Zwift is no different there. So, if you skim through all the survey options, they consolidate into the following list of “new features”, all of the descriptions are exact quotes from the info tabs (except rowing):

Rowing: This is the easiest one, given it’s at the top of every page. And also one that Zwift has repeatedly discussed as being near-term.

Coach-designed & Tailored Training Plans: A coach will write you a tailored training plan, check in to assess your progress and revise the plan when necessary

Instructor-Led Workouts with video and Audio: Pre-recorded workout library with on-screen videos of instructors for increased guidance and motivation. Also includes ability to participant in live instructor-led classes.

Premium Racing: Team time trial, scratch racing, and handicap racing

Plus Racing: Includes all race types, as well as organized leagues and seasons to create ways for groups of people to compete and accomplish a common goal

Plus Group Rides: Adds Club functionality to let the community form their own groups, create their own events, and generally build smaller, more intimate communities.

Premium Group Rides: Includes all group ride types, and adds access to special events such as rides with professional cyclists, early world unveilings, and more.

Steering and Braking: In-game features like steering and braking to introduce skill and strategy, not just pure watts

Zwift Companion App Expansion: Added post-activity analytics and insights

Up to 15 Virtual Worlds: This wasn’t a separate item per se, but listed at the top of every survey option. Any reasonable person would expect Zwift to continue expanding worlds, so this isn’t a huge surprise.

Now, the above new features were all of those that were featured within the pricing models section. However, there was also a secondary section of the survey, where Zwift asked extensively about how you ranked their various pro level events (primarily from a watching them standpoint):

This also included asking whether or not you found any value here:

However, that then segued into six different combinations of how you would compare various features:

Here’s the full set of six pages of options I received:

As with before, there were times where I was like “I don’t really care about any of these”, so a least-to-first ranking would seem to be more valuable than forcing me to choose between multiple blah things as ‘Most Attractive’.

In any event, within these there were yet more features outed. They included:

– Improved leaderboard services to power segment results and player rankings for fun competition
– Hardware purchase included in monthly membership
– Music streaming (integration with Spotify/Apple Music)
– In-game purchases (e.g. exclusive gear, bikes)
– Matchmaking service (ride with Zwifters of similar ability)
– Free in-game unlocks via drop shop
– Text and voice chat

Now, not all of the above are huge leaps. For example, Zwift already does some hardware bundling with their online store in a limited fashion. And with the recent in-housing of Zwift Power, the leaderboard pieces aren’t a big jump. And while Zwift lacks voice chat today, they do have text chat.

Still, in total, the survey is a stunning display of Zwift’s roadmap of things being considered. Undoubtedly there are others not listed here being tossed around, but still – this gives competitors a massive list for which to consider bringing forward prior to Zwift doing so. While few of these features are groundbreaking by themselves, like any major software platform – it’s more about the total integration than any single feature.

Ultimately, while it’s easy to dismiss the higher-priced tiers as a money grab, the reality is that if the company can offer more features that people find valuable at a higher price – then I don’t have an issue with that. For things like racing leagues, added coaching components, etc… there’s undoubtedly space in people’s wallets to re-allocate funds. After all, people aren’t spending on races in 2020 (or travel to races), nor are they likely to spend 2019 type race amounts in 2021 either.

Thus, it makes sense for Zwift to strike while the iron is hot. The key is ensuring they don’t burn anyone with the iron in the meantime.

With that – thanks for reading!

DC Rainmaker:

View Comments (164)

  • Meh. Enough to get me to go back to TrainerRoad. I don't claim to represent any huge class of athletes, but I'm just a triathlete who needs a platform to do the structured workouts my coach sends me through TrainingPeaks. I do occasional free rides on Zwift to change things up, but I'm not interested in paying a lot more money for any of these features.

    • You know you can load a TrainingPeaks workout into your garmin/wahoo/etc & have it control your trainer for free?

    • So answer the Survey and give Zwift the information they looking for, all they are looking for is how happy users are and what they are looking for, in the future, like the article says, none of the above is done, some isn't in progress, and they is no looming pricing change ... so not sure why people need to threaten with "gonna leave" because of the changes, when there are no changes

    • @OG Yeah, not as seemlessly and automatically as Zwift does it (and I *think* TR has recently rolled out something similar). The Zwift integration with TP is one of those simple, but really valuable, things.

    • @David E the next week or two of TrainingPeaks workouts are always loaded and in my Edge 530. When I go to start recording the 530 asks if I want to do the workout. Very seamless.

    • You really think Zwift listens to their user base???? Just jump onto their forums and see the list of legitimate feature requests that they completely ignore. Let alone the list of bugs in the program.

    • well, I have been using TP with Garmin for almost a year. I had issue only twice so far and I took care of it. Granted, you need to turn on the device and sync it everytime there is a change in plan but once its up, its ready for you.

    • Steering does from the potential for strategy and positioning in racing. Trying to make breaks or stick on wheels could be more challenging with a steering element.

      Braking may not require "crashing" specifically and could lead to some other "penalty" in the form of delayed power or something else to encourage more "proper" brake use around corners and such.

      There's a great amount left out beyond the simple statement of the functions. Implementation and actual use may be far more detailed and complicated than what is appropriate in a survey to gauge interest.

    • Your point brings up even more questions. Do people who pay for steering or steering+ braking get put in separate race groups? If crashing were enabled, how would it even work. Could you just veer and wipe out half of the peloton or would you just crash if you went into a corner too fast. Would you just hit a virtual barrier that would scrub a bunch of speed off? Seems like latency or frame drops from any rider could wreck a race for a large group of people.

    • I would assume steering/braking would only affect yourself and at most the drafting possibilities of those closest to you. Anything beyond that like full collission detection would quickly lead to way, way, way too many griefers only in it to spoil the experience for everyone else.

  • Separate packages for Cycling, Running and Rowing (with Coach-designed Plans, Training Plans and Premium Racing as purchasable add-ons). These packages should be offered at $10 or less. Obviously a package that combines them all at a discount should also be offered.

    • When using the steering in Zwift on the MTB route, getting the wrong line makes you slower

  • So I work in the market research space so can help clarify the methodology. Simply put, yes, these features are mostly randomised by computer. They can set certain exclusions (so can’t show x feature as part of this option), but it uses a mathematical mode to randomly allocate features so no bundles should be taken at face value. These bundles are not placed together, it is done by a computer.

    The output Zwift get from this is that it allows to them to see how much each feature is worth. So they can see that x feature is worth $xx, x feature is worth $xx. They can then, from that, create a bundle that will give them optimum subscription % and then base the costs off that.

    Eg. If everyone always selected the option with plus group rides they will know that it is extremely important and people will pay a lot for it.

    Anyway, hope that clears it up!

    • I will add that not having a ‘none of these option’ is not a good idea. While they are assuming that you are a member so you must choose an option, they are also not measuring people leaving on certain bundles.

    • Thank you for this. I work on the data viz side of market research, kinda, and I was looking for a good way to explain the process above. You nailed it.

    • And I'd add that usually when you do a conjoint analysis based on a survey (as opposed to sales data), you take pains to hide the brand that's doing the research so as to not bias the results. For one, execute the survey and recruit respondents through a third party, make the product generic, not linked to a specific brand/solution. Hard to do in this space, but they could mask it enough so people wouldn't know if they were asking about zwift vs TR vs any other. The data from this survey are going to be useless, given the reaction from the people to whom it was sent.

    • And I'd add that usually when you do a conjoint analysis based on a survey (as opposed to sales data), you take pains to hide the brand that's doing the research so as to not bias the results. For one, execute the survey and recruit respondents through a third party, make the product generic, not linked to a specific brand/solution. Hard to do in this space, but they could mask it enough so people wouldn't know if they were asking about zwift vs TR vs any other. The data from this survey are going to be useless, given the reaction from the people to whom it was sent.

    • Personally on a study like this I would recommend branded.
      Doing this unbranded will allow you to model the intrinsic value of each feature as provided by a generic platform. However, Zwift will never launch any of these features on a generic platform. They will only launch these on Zwift. If you want to know if people prefer Zwift to launch Feature A or Zwift to launch Feature B, the model should show preference of each feature as if Zwift were to launch it. In this case the study should be branded.

    • And Ive worked with marketing people for 30 years and if its something Ive learned about the whole business its that its full of shit!.
      Marketing is just made up crap, done by a group of humans beings self promoting an industry that doesnt need to exist and this Zwift survey proves the point.
      It doesn't need complicated maths.models and random sequences, lets not forget these things also have dumb humans behind them, not magical cosmic computers created by God, so are in themselves, flawed.
      If Zwift want to know what to charge and what features to add and improve, its very, very simple. Ask the bloody community!!!!!! Its really not rocket science and doesn't need all this mumbo jumbo marketing BS.
      Also, how are turbo trainer manufacturers going to take this? A lot of turbos are bought with Zwift riding in mind and a lot of cyclists will hold off from buying turbos if they believe Zwift are starting this nonsense.

  • No mention of a Family Plan yet that I could see?

    Moved from Zwift to Rouvy a while ago for this exact reason.

    • Zwift offer free children's accounts to members - although obviously that doesn't cover other adults in the household...

    • I'd pay £10/m just to be able to mute the home screen music on Apple TV like you can on other platforms.

    • Why is it so loud? it's turned up to 11 compared to the rest of the sound in the game.
      Still waiting for the update to the appleTV GUI too

    • Hey, new ui is coming, any day now! Just keep on paying that monthly fee will you. Oh by the way, would you like to pay double instead? Just doing some market research here, no need to be angry!

  • $ 10, the best option, I won't pay any more for simulations. I prefer to go outside. I stopped riding zwift when he turned my $ 15 into 15 euros. It was the end of my wallet.

    • I was considering starting to use Zwift when it was still €10, but for me it’s been a hard pass since it went to €15.

      Clearly many others disagree, however

  • In my point of view, what they are doing, is opening the doors to other company less hungry of money but much more motivated to gain consensus.

  • If it is a conjoint (and it likely is), then indeed the scenarios are made up, and differ from person to person participating in the survey. Then, utility (meaning price) for each feature will be calculated - helping to create final offers.

    • Well, yes, I'd prefer a service I use and pay for to be developed based on my (and other users) requirements rather than just want the provider thinks I want.

      --"Hi, this is Zwift, would you like to see us include rowing?"

      "Not telling you."

      --"OK, we won't then."

      Damn, I sure wish Zwift included rowing.

    • Yeah, odd to complain about a company offering an opening to customers to give feedback that may well impact their direction in the future. Zwift has stepped way from customer responsiveness since their inception. I find the general ignorance and actions contrary to clearly stated preferences of many (via the Z forums and ZR FB group) to be upsetting.

      I get a sense that Z thinks they know better than us (paying customers) and they implement more of what they want than what we want. In that light, I think it's important for people to take part in any open invite that Z is willing to offer.

    • My limited experience with the Zwift Running Facebook Group is that it is an echo chamber. If you disagree with the consensus opinion, you will be bullied out, I watched it happen to others and eventually it happened to me. In fairness, a moderator eventually did reach out and give an unprompted, earnest apology to me, but I have not returned.

      If you want to criticize Zwift for not listening to these social media groups or the feature requests on the forum, that's fair: they're definitely not following the groups' demands. But I imagine that one or more folks at ZHQ have seen what goes on there and have probably made a deliberate decision to not prioritize the squeaky wheels.

    • Best not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Sure, there is some real garbage that can happen in ZR.

      But those few bad moments don't negate the many good ideas, suggestions and discussion that still exist there. There are legitimate complaints about bugs and such that have been ignored or addressed in poor ways, despite positive comments. Couple that with the interactions between some Z employees (not to mention the CEO), and it seems they see some value of a presence there.

      Choosing to ignore the good purely because of the bad (which is a relative minority of the overall content) would be a serious mistake, IMO. Doing so gives more credence to the thought that "Zwift" knows best..." and their customers should be happy with what they get feeling that I and others have sometimes. It's not an endearing feeling as a paying customer with positive suggestions to improve our and others experience on the platform.

    • Strava is the same way. That led to people not paying because they felt the company was ignoring their users opinions. Zwift should take a lesson from that.

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