The Zwift virtual cycling platform is getting a dedicated first-party game controller to simplify and improve the user experience. The Zwift Play controller attaches to the handlebars and provides a full suite of input options, with a directional pad, programmable analog buttons and a paddle on the back of each handle for braking and steering. The device attaches via silicone straps and integrates with most drop handlebar designs.
Prior to this release, Zwift users who wanted additional control options were stuck choosing from a couple of bare-bones third-party options and Bluetooth-enabled e-racing controllers that weren’t designed to optimize the company’s digital fitness experience. Also, many of these devices struggled to integrate with the Zwift Companion app, which is where most users otherwise access certain features of the experience.
The Zwift Play controllers give users “complete control” and allows for easy U-Turns and general navigation throughout a multitude of virtual worlds. To that end, the buttons are programmable to allow for shortcuts like deploying power ups and teleporting to multiplayer races. That means less reaching for your phone or a keyboard while riding, which is certainly helpful.
The controller is launching alongside some brand-new software, called the Beta Zwift Play Game Experience. A game mode called Repack Rush exists as a tutorial of sorts, teaching new users how to make the most of their controllers, with more games launching in the near future. There’s also going to be more multiplayer tournaments like the annual UCI Cycling Esports World Championships, held in a virtual recreation of Central Park.
Zwift Play controllers are available starting today in the USA and Europe. The controllers are available with a discount at first, costing $100, but raise up to $150 once the initial beta testing phase has completed.
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/zwift-launches-dedicated-game-controllers-for-its-bike-based-fitness-platform-150046881.html?src=rss