ZWIFT, the online fitness entertainment platform, has announced that users can now access the company’s online gaming platform on an immediate, on-demand basis (moving away from an invite-only, ‘closed Beta’ product).
Since launching last October, ZWIFT has built a global community of cyclists who ride, train and race with each other in rich, 3D generated worlds by simply connecting their existing devices (e.g. trainers, power meters, heart rate monitors, etc.) over the internet to the ZWIFT platform.
Now anyone can visit the ZWIFT website, sign-up for an account and can be riding in minutes. ZWIFT announced the move to Open Beta at events in Sydney and Melbourne Australia this week.
ZWIFT’s move to a free download, known in the software business as ‘Open Beta’, also coincides with a raft of industry partnership announcements, spanning deals with pro athletes, pro teams, bike, equipment and trainer manufacturers, event owners and retailers.
“For leading industry brands, partnering with Zwift is an easy but strategic sell,” said ZWIFT Co-Founder and CEO Eric Min. “ZWIFT has built a global community of riders and the depth of engagement that a brand can build with our user base is absolutely second to none.”
Min also touted the benefits riders would see from these partnerships. “Whenever we introduce an element that makes gameplay more compelling—such as virtual goods, virtual events or riding with pros like Jens Voigt, Ted King and Evelyn Stevens—we see a hugely positive response from our community. Our partners buy into our belief that Zwift will significantly grow indoor cycling, make cycling more accessible, more enjoyable, more social and better promote year round participation.”
To provide extra incentive for riders to log-on, ZWIFT has also announced a string of partnerships with some of the cycling industry’s most prestigious brands including Trek, Trek Factory Racing, Canyon Bicycles, Specialized and the Richmond 2015 UCI Road World Championships. ‘These and other industry partners will enable and support an enriched experience for the Zwift community.’
Earlier this year, Italian bike maker Pinarello became the first brand to be featured in the game and, in an extension of its original relationship, Zwift announced plans for users to unlock and own the Tour de France-winning F8 model within the game.
Available to users of PC and Mac platforms, ZWIFT uses multiplayer video game technology to deliver a fun, social and entertaining indoor cycling experience. ZWIFT is enhanced by iOS and Android apps and rides can easily be uploaded to fitness tracking services such as Strava, Garmin Connect and Training Peaks.