Straight out of Black Mirror: Peloton teases cyclic gaming in an effort to go beyond video
Peloton is a fitness bike and you might have seen some of their dramatic and energetic commercials. Moving a step ahead of juts fitness, the company is introducing a game based on cycling. If that takes you back to the episode of Netflix's Black Mirror, you aren't the only ones. Usually, when Peloton users want to take a break from classes, the company offers videos of scenic rides, etc. And since live classes and scenic videos are already on offer, Peloton has been looking at “opportunities beyond video”.
Peloton is looking into a new format that gives users a more exciting way to remain active without getting bored of fitness videos and scenic rides - games. They are currently testing an early version of Lanebreak which is a rhythm-based game that revolves around fitness and the game works by presenting cues on the bike's tablet. Players have to match the game's cues on a virtual track by using the device's resistance knob to switch tracks while the peddles are uses to control the game's cadence. The game throws in obstacles to make things more challenging and there is also music that is synchronised with the track.
Peloton says that users will be able to pick from a library of different workout lengths, types of difficulties, and playlists. The company said in an announcement that that months of research and design have gone into developing Lanebreak and this is based in part on the min-games that they tested with some of their customers.
“Lanebreak is a rhythm-based game on Bike and Bike+ rooted in something core to Peloton's DNA, music. Players are challenged to match and sustain their resistance or cadence according to the cues on the tablet to get the highest score possible, which they can then compare with other Members,” Peloton explained.
“One area we are particularly interested in is how non-gamers react to and engage with this experience. Just like mobile did with apps such as Candy Crush, Monument Valley & Threes, we believe that connected fitness is an opportunity to open up the power of gaming to a new audience,” the company added. Peloton said that some people have been interested in using their products based on the inclusion of games, and these are people who otherwise would not have been interested. The company says that things are still in the very early stages of development and that there is soon going to be playtesting opportunities.
This is an interesting angle to explore reminding us of the episode of Black Mirror called “Fifteen Million Merits” where all members of a society need to cycle through the major part of their day on an exercise bike, surrounded by screens, to be able to earn merits. These merits then pay for their food, things that they can watch while cycling/sleeping/relaxing, and you even need merits to change your lives and take part in a talent show that can make you famous and you won't need to cycle anymore. However, the merits you can earn on Peloton are different, for now.