Zwift officially takes over Zwift Power

FWIW, I haven’t been doing races on Zwift this season (sticking to structured workouts/plans), but I have a goal to get up Alpe Du Zwift in under an hour. Zwift Power let me do all kinds of research to see what I’m up against. I could filter the results down to my age and weight range, and see what kind of W/kg other folks are doing on that segment. It was pretty darn easy to do. …and Zwift itself has nothing comparable. It’s that kind functionality that I’m afraid about. ZP fills in so many gaps that Zwift obviously can’t be bothered to fill in on their own. And if the same braintrust responsible for missing stuff like “easily searchable results” takes over, ZP will slowly drift into oblivion.

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That’s a fair point. I don’t use it for that, I would use Strava. But makes sense for them to integrate rather than eliminate those types of features. :crossed_fingers:t4:

I thought Zwift was a video game😂

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Back when it started (as I understand) ZwiftPower freely drank from the data firehose. They could see every activity/event/etc, they’d whack everything into their database, then present event results. That was great.

GDPR came along and killed it. It never recovered. No result sheet had the complete picture anymore.

Even though they moved to an ‘opt-in’ model… it was still Zwift event data. Along similar lines of Strava putting a bullet in Relive this time last year, I suspect Zwift wanted more ownership/control of where ‘their’ data went.

Pure speculation… but I wouldn’t think ZwiftPower had any option to negotiate on this one. Allow Zwift to absorb their product, or be cut off.

I’ve said all along ZP should be in-house at Zwift. That’d allow them to get back to reporting ALL data from ALL events, no messy opt-in BS… as long as that in-housing was of the software and meatware. Looks like the meatware wasn’t included in the agreement.

Where to from here? God help anyone on the Zwift helpdesk. Hell hath no fury like an eracer with dodgy data… and Zwift are now responsible for helping or techsplaining to people why they’ve been booted from results. No longer can they put anything to do with ZwiftPower at arm’s length. They are the judge, jury and executioner… they make the world, they sell the service, they’re the ones who’ll boot you. That’s a tough one to manage from a business point of view. Much easier done (and to dodge criticism) when it’s a third party ‘for the love of it’ project site.

Interesting times… and so far distanced from the Peloton model I assume they want to achieve. Could you imagine Peloton doing anything like this? “Sorry KAREN from Smithsville… your data isn’t correct, you’ll have to sort your shit out before coming back next time DISCONNECT USER”.

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  • In regards to Zwift merging in Zwift Power properly, I am low confidence it will go well.

  • I’ve been part of both ends of the SW acquisition table enough times to see that even when cultures and values are aligned, it’s still a PITA. And so far, Zwift hasn’t proven they care about putting in a system to make for a fair yet competitive racing experience, let alone execute. Fun, whacky, frustrating and zany, sure.

  • To devil’s advocate that point, maybe Zwift taking over ZP is that first step to show they do care. But I see ZP as an arbitrary, post-mortem way to ‘patch’ the results of a racing system that was fundamentally broken to begin with.

  • Thus, even if Zwift successfully executes on ‘merging in’ ZP and all its spirit, racing in Zwift is still a messed up system in the end. Zwift needs to take the learnings from ZP on how best to show, post, and track results/progress. But Zwift still needs to fundamentally fix race categories/filtering/enforcement/education at its core BEFORE or even better in parallel with working on the back end. Maybe they’re doing that, but call me pessimistic.

For those asking for a ZP Cliff Notes:
Zwift Racing has 4 race categories based on wkg ranges. Today, there is nothing preventing a 5wkg rider, who should be racing in Cat A, from joining and destroying a Cat D 1.0-2.4wkg race. Today, Zwift does not actively enforce or educate players on category requirements, which leads to many people racing in the wrong categories-- whether innocent or malicious. A 3rd Party website ZwiftPower was made to take Zwift Race results and filter out the bad citizens using extra rulesets, so that racers could see race results that were closer to the truth.

That said, even if Zwift fixed all that, I still think it’s near impossible to enforce a clean racing experience. Weight and height doping will always be on an honor system unless they put in a hyper complicated infrastructure that was bombproof to cheating. In the end it’s just a looney game and a fun way to burn an hour.

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I think this is great news - it’s madness that to race you need to rely on a third party. It’s a data nightmare for Zwift too, why should a user, who keeps their activities private on Zwift, then have to share personal data (including heart rate etc etc) with the world in order to join certain races on the platform? Makes sense to me for Zwift to own and improve on Zwift Power.

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On the broader issue of larger digital space organisations absorbing or blocking third party ‘support’ or ‘associated’ service application organisations, it appears this is a trend that is increasing.

I guess it is to some extent inevitable…

An example was last year when Strava blocked their api from being used by the third party app that allowed you to compete on segments (segment challenge?). The recent changes to Strava membership levels and the ‘features’ you get doesn’t seem to have addressed the gap that was created when they blocked this third party service.

I imagine there are complex levels of reasoning behind a lot of these decisions and not everything is black and white ‘takeover and destroy’ mentality but I fear in this specific instance the multiple comments on this thread about the potential for a shit-show may be well founded.

The alternative perspective is that the good people at Zwift changed their mind about their attitude to ‘racing’ when they started to appreciate how popular it was / had become, and recognising they had not ‘kept up’ decided to buy out ZP to allow all the best aspects of that service to be absorbed. Citing the earlier post regarding the 2018 rights ownership, perhaps this is an indicator of good intentions that it happened 2 years against but only now is the move happening; perhaps they are seeking to do it ‘properly’.

I don’t race on Zwift (or even use it much) but know a handful of people who do and they definitely bemoan the silly situations that arise, that potentially this amalgamation might go some way to resolve.

Time will most certainly tell. :smiley:

I look forward to the subsequent discussion threads on here … :popcorn: :popcorn:

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Zwiftpower is firmly on my shit list. I hate their arbitrary category boundaries as they always mess my races up.
I am at 4.3W/Kg. I can hold 310W for an hour but i’ve got no sprint. I can race at the front of a B race and sometimes end up in the top 5. I then get DQ’d every time. If i go in my “correct” A category then i hang on for dear life to the back of a load of guys half my age until the first hill and then they ride away from me and anyone else who is unfortunately just at that 4W -ish level.

Recently i was in a race series and wishing to race with friends in B (rather than by myself off the back off the A’s) I would be nothing more than a strong member of the peloton. I wasn’t dominating at all. I’d get DQ’d every week for doing 4.0 or 4.1 W/Kg while other guys who’d basically sat in for the whole race and done nothing until 200m from the line get the podium and keep the points. We’d all discuss who was DQ’d and who wasn’t and how some guy was able to go faster on apparently lower power etc.

My point is that the classes encouraged everyone to do as little as possible to stay under the power limit and this killed any fun in the race. Hiding like a sprinter = good. Breakways like an Alaphilippe or a De Gendt = DQ

I know it’s only a game. But rather than a class system that makes everyone limit their ability/power wouldn’t it be more value to have upgrades based on points accrued through races, like I don’t know, Real Life?

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Any categorization system is going to bother people. If the wkg boundaries were different and 4.3 was the top of the Bs, you’d be happy but it would upset others. I’m sure results based categories do a similar thing. Winning Cat3 races -> upgrade to 2 -> getting crushed in the 2s. Anyone who isn’t near the top of a category could argue about the arbitrariness of the categories. Zwiftinsider has a good series of articles about the issues with the current categorization systems and alternative models such as the results / points based one USAC uses. I can easily calculate my FTP wkg and assign myself to the appropriate category, I think it is more complicated with other models and more support is required to get people in the right categories.

I believe the wkg categories roughly align with the ones event organizers in zwift were using (with some caveats such as absolute power minimum values now), so I don’t think they originated as ZP categories. I could be wrong though.

I am concerned about the transition. ZP isn’t perfect but it does a lot of things zwift has not done: filter out riders competing in the wrong category, filtering out individuals with obviously uncalibrated or misconfigured setups, race results, race leagues, all of the analytics, etc.

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Is that because of Zwiftpower or because of Zwift? Doesnt Zwift set those arbitray boundries? Like you I am in the low 4s for watt/kg so have to ride in the As and get my pixelated ass handed to me every race by those in the high 4s and low 5s.

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Can Zwift acquire a company that has a lap button?

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Maybe @Nate_Pearson will release this as I remember a thread via group workout release where this was discussed

Edit Found the response from Nate: About that Thing Two

That’s my thought. We’d spend a lot of time to get the physics and drafting engine correct.

I haven’t talked to this about everyone at TR yet so I’m sure they hate me…but I see this as a compelling feature if we can make sure it doesn’t mess up your training.

If you’re more motivated to train because of some variety then your compliance will go up and you’ll be faster.

The problem is that assumption you made at the end.

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I was going to make the point Shane made above, the whole opt-in thing for zwiftpower made it so much less good, I definitely have used zwiftpower much less since gdpr took effect (not to mention that I’ve got a bunch of HR and UPG dq’s because I just hop on random events to do during my TR workouts lol)

I totally get the zwiftpower filled an important need to give people a semblance of enforcement, even if it was post hoc. But I’ll be the broken record with my assertion that zwift racing needs a lot of work on the front end to make sure only those people who fit into certain categories are allowed to participate in their respective groups. No amount of post race filtering is going to change the fact that people really blow up race dynamics

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I don’t think any of us consider the 3rd-Party aspect that ZP filled as “ideal”. It was a necessary supplement for those that wanted more than the extremely limited offering from Zwift in the beginning and even following years.

It was great in what it provided, got neutered by GDPR and was never the best solution with respect to actually assigning, controlling and regulating rider categories. It’s after the fact and not anything someone would choose if they could actually implement the “right” solution.

As mentioned, they used to have deniability and could side-step complaints from paying customers. That is gone. Zwift now owns all the process, for good and bad. The pessimism from me (and I suspect others) stems from the initial reluctance from Zwift to do anything substantial with respect to racing. They only got involved after they saw big $$$ hanging in the sky, and decided they need to try to grab it.

Couple that with what we see from them as a company (slow moving, often implementing features that are not requested while completely ignoring ones that are long requested and badly needed, along with failure to address existing bugs that are quite clear and problematic) leads many of us to fear for how they will screw the current level of function up and how long it may take for them to resolve issues.

I do hope they can incorporate the core functions and build upon them, because that is the best direction for hopes of making racing anything more than a “fun” option. The current state is functional on a basic level, but leads to massive frustration from many users. It’s not the type of experience that will lead to greater use or satisfaction with regards to racing.

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:crossed_fingers:

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I hope it’s not a giant censored.

Sadly this seems more likely than them actually implementing it at this point.

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I guess the fact that they were prepared to pay some money to buy ZP is at least an indicator that they put some value on having fairer racing. It’s not like ZP is going to give them a new revenue stream. I think it’s reasonable to expect that we will now at least get Zwift race results that reflect the ZP race results rather than still including people who haven’t met the rules of the race (too much power, zPower in a race requiring a PM, no HR, etc). And shouldn’t be too much to ask that they actually enforce categories a bit better before the race starts (i.e. somebody who ZP categorise as an A simply doesn’t have the option to enter a lower category). Maybe too much of a stretch to hope that people can be DQed in real time so that they don’t impact the dynamics of the race as much as currently but you never know!

I would prefer to see categories based on results and not W/kg as think it’s far more meaningful, but do see the attraction of keeping it simple as Zwift is trying to attract a broader market to their races than just people who race in the real world. And if that leads some of those people to then try their hand at real world racing then that’s all well and good. I can see the issue of people sandbagging to try and stay within a category, but suspect most people just race to the best of their ability. And maybe incorporating into Zwift means that all activities would feed into that W/kg number and not just races.

Still think at the amateur level that Zwift racing is and always will be just for fun or a videogame if you prefer. Even if people are honest and are calibrating regularly then there can be pretty significant differences between different PMs and smart trainers, and for less honest people there is further opportunity to game the system with your height and weight. You can weed out the blatant cheats but it’s nigh on impossible to spot somebody who has just shaved off a couple of cm and a couple of kg, and that’s enough to make a significant difference. Pro level and championship racing is different as you can have proper weigh ins and have them ride on standardised or approved equipment which has been properly calibrated, but that doesn’t work for the tens of thousands of people racing in their garage on hundreds of different trainers and PMs.

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I started a thread about this on Zwift Power a while ago… the arbitrary “categories” are an artifact from real world racing that, I think we can all agree, don’t carry over to the world of Zwift Racing.

I think they need a ranking system based more on matched/pairing against other riders. Similar to what other competitions like Chess have. You gain points when you beat someone, and lose points when you lose to someone. And the points are scaled such that you gain more if you beat a “stronger” opponent than you would if you beat a weak opponent. Over time, the system balances itself.

https://zwiftpower.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=5341 for what it is worth.

…not that I expect Zwift to actually implement anything :slight_smile:

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