Users of the Zwift online training and racing app Zwift have reacted angrily to the announcement yesterday that the monthly charge for the service has increased from £7.99 to £12.99.
.@gozwift it's really disappointing to get a email today, saying that prices have double effective today, when you guys have been having lots of issues lately. Issues aside, that's a HUGE jump in price. Why not a tiered pricing a la Netflix?
Sincerely, a former customer.#zwift
— Carl J (@RunBikeBbq) November 16, 2017
Some customers, and now former customers, have already voiced their displeasure on social media
A letter sent out to subscribers cites a big growth in the development team, expansion of the virtual world including a Mayan jungle course launched late last month and continual research into improving Zwift as justification for the hike. CEO Eric Min says: "We have so much more that we hope to deliver to you: new gameplay features, more maps and expansions to existing maps, improved social riding experiences, better guidance in reaching your training and fitness goals. The list goes on, and on."
..."In order to continue to make Zwift bigger, better and more beautiful, we are updating our membership price to £12.99 per month, effective today. As a way of saying thank you, however, to the awesome Zwifters who helped us get here, your pricing will not change for one year."
— jBay (@jadby) November 16, 2017
— Luc van Santen (@lucvsan) November 16, 2017
How does Zwift's new pricing compare with its competitors?
Zwift's pricing before the increase was set at $10 (or £7.99) a month, which has been the same since the free beta mode ended and they began charging for subscriptions two years ago. Here's what you pay for a selection of other popular training apps...
Sufferfest: $10 (£7.57) a month. Includes personalised performance targets, footage of major races added alongside workouts for a more immersive experience, soundtracks and huge database of structured workouts.
TrainerRoad: $12 (£9.84) a month or $99 (£75) a year. Virtual power available with a speed sensor, highly structured training plans, motivational and instructional tips on-screen.
Bkool: £8 a month. Used with Bkool's own £349 Smart Go Trainer, this is the cheapest smart training solution currently available. Includes simulation for immersive training, specialised workouts and video classes.
Zwift's value is justified for many when entertainment is factored in - currently none of the others mentioned have the computer game likeness that many Zwift users claim has transformed their indoor training by giving an immersive experience with a social element to it, plus your own personal avatar. If you're a glutton for punishment who can just as well stare at a brick wall and crank the watts for a couple of hours, then the price increase may make Zwift harder to justify; but for those who are spending a grand or more on a smart trainer such as a Wahoo Kickr, Elite Direto or Tacx Neo to name but three, the extra outlay might seem negligible if it's what you prefer.
What do Zwift users think? Will you keep subscribing regardless of the new pricing? Let us know in the comments.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017 having previously being Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine, and reports on all things tech as well as editing road.cc's live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.