Peloton has launched its first in-app gaming experience for its Bike and Bike+ users: Lanebreak. Last week, the prominent connected fitness solutions leader announced an early access version of the game, intending to generate feedback and interest before its full release later this winter. The game will be music-focused and will feature “lanes” that riders can weave in and out of by turning the resistance knob. Points are accumulated if users can successfully match their “cadence,” or bike resistance, to the obstacles present in the game. Peloton members will then compare scores with each other, solidifying Lanebreak as an authentic, multiplayer experience. The obstacle courses are synchronized to the music, and the game will boast various workout levels, which differ in duration, intensity, and style of music. Additionally, each group will offer varying difficulty levels, ranging from beginner to expert, to allow new and seasoned Peloton users alike to enjoy the unique experience equally.
This latest announcement is a calculated move by Peloton to recreate the significant growth the company experienced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Peloton gained over 2 million new subscribers last year, its earnings have decreased consistently over the latest four quarters amidst supply chain issues and a safety recall. The company expects the new experience to generate interest in individuals who have not previously owned or used a Peloton bike and anticipates reaching a broader customer base that overlaps in fitness and gaming.
According to Parks Associates’ April 2021 Connected Health Survey, 30% of U.S. broadband households report using exercise equipment at home – almost half of these households own connected exercise equipment, that is, the product connects to an app, the internet, or a smartphone or other device. This equals almost 15% of US broadband households owning and using connected exercise equipment. This research strongly buttresses Peloton’s embrace of the “smart exercise” trend that has made the company a leader in this space over the past several years.
Peloton is not the first company of its type to break into the gaming sector; similar companies such as Playpulse, Supernatural, and Zwift all offer a combined fitness-gaming experience, with Playpulse also offering an actual bike with a built-in gaming experience. Zwift boasts an app that combines running and cycling with a virtual landscape, while Supernatural allows Oculus Quest users to conflate exercise with engaging, virtual reality settings. The connected home fitness market as a whole is already well populated. Apple offers Apple Fitness+, allowing users to sync their Apple Watch with other home devices to stream their favorite shows or movies while working out. Lululemon also has launched its own “smart gym” platform, Mirror.
While Apple and Lululemon certainly pose serious competition to Peloton’s connected home fitness ventures, Peloton’s commitment to its exclusive content is a feature that could very well work to its advantage, differentiating its offering from Apple’s, which centers its platform on its ability to connect to third-party streaming services. As gyms reopen and competitors move to make their mark in the space, Peloton’s Lanebreak announcement may just be what the company needs to stoke and retain an interest in their brand.
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