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April 1, 2020
Photography by Chis Young
Zwift has had an unexpectedly busy month or two, but has somehow still found time to roll out a new update, effective today. A number of small bugs have been fixed, but the marquee announcement is the addition of a new ‘Crash’ feature in its repertoire of in-game PowerUps. This feature is now available to verified pro riders, and to premium subscribers — now a $39/month price tier.
The Crash PowerUp works like any other in Zwift, but can only be used in the final 5 km of Zwift race events. Pressing the on-screen Crash PowerUp button will send everyone up to 5 seconds behind to the ground in an enormous pile-up of electronic carbon fiber.
The first person to deploy this new PowerUp within the final 5 km will get the advantage, but if others have the PowerUp available and use it within 0.5 seconds, they will glide through the carnage unscathed.
Riders brought down by the Crash PowerUp will find themselves out of contention unless they unleash a five-second sprint from a standing start at 1000 Watts or 12 W/kg, whichever comes first. If you can achieve this, you’ll regain your place in the race and be given a ‘Draft’ PowerUp for the chase back on. Premium subscribers brought down by the Crash will receive the ‘Double Draft’ PowerUp.
It has been speculated that the Crash PowerUp may be Zwift’s first foray into the long-rumoured ‘Repair Shop’ marketplace, where riders can replace broken bike parts for their avatar’s bike. InsideZwift.com has also reported on Zwift Credits being trialled in certain countries, where, for as little as 50 credits, you can purchase tyre repairs, true wheels, tune your gears and so on.
Zwift co-founder Enrique Min said in a press release accompanying the update that “the Crash PowerUp adds a new element to the Zwift experience and simulates real-life racing. Crashing is a part of racing and we’ve had an enormous number of requests to bring this into the game from pros who are finding that racing against amateurs is tough these days. It also presents a great revenue opportunity to engage our highest-value customers and funnel our sketchiest riders to our Zwift Repair Shop.”
Zwift previously experimented with an in-game ‘lap out’ feature but that proved far too real and prone to abuse from savvy e-racers — just like in real-world racing — and went against the spirit of e-sports.