High-end exercise device maker Peloton has expanded into video games.
The company has rolled out what it calls its first “gaming-inspired experience” called Lanebreak, designed for its Peloton Bike and Peloton Bike+, with music playing a central role in the game-play.
According to the company, the game combines “heart pumping music, immersive visuals and fitness-inspired challenges” and sees players control a “wheel-like avatar” along a six-lane track, with ‘Moments’ placed in time with music and sequenced to create what Peloton calls “unique, fitness-first workouts”.
Peloton says that it is “also actively exploring new platforms and formats”.
Lanebreak uses a combination of cadence (speed of pedalling) and resistance (added force needed to pedal) as primary inputs to complete “Moments”.
Players can choose different levels based on different genres of music and workout types.
Peloton says that it has a number of music inspired levels powered by its launch partner, Warner Music Group.
The first artist themed levels to launch on Lanebreak are two Warner-distributed artists: David Bowie and David Guetta.
The fact that Warner Music Group – and presumably other major music companies – are now agreeing/discussing new licensing usages for music on Peloton is given an extra music-biz-flavored tang by the fact that Spotify‘s ex-CFO, Barry McCarthy, was named Peloton’s new CEO earlier this month.
Following a steep downturn in its market cap and the reported cessation of manufacturing of some devices due to soft demand, Peloton has so far laid off 2,800 employees in 2022.
In this context, Lanebreak could be seen as something of a first step in attempting to diversity Peloton’s business beyond its core fitness competencies.
Peloton says that each level of Lanebreak is “individually designed to match the energy of the music and the goal of the workout’.
The company explains that the game’s levels were created using “insights” from its instructors, “supplemented by analyses which mapped our cadence and resistance to different types of workouts and lengths, as well as performance data from Members”.
Peloton’s new gaming feature marks the latest chapter in the convergence of the fitness, gaming and music worlds, with fitness and gaming generating serious revenues for the majors.
In May 2021, Sony Music Group boss, Rob Stringer, noted that the recorded music side of his company had generated nearly $400 million from social, gaming, and fitness platforms in its prior fiscal year. He also noted that he expected these income streams to “become an even more material part of our revenue base” in future.
Speaking during an interview at the Goldman Sachs‘ Communacopia in September, Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper revealed that WMG’s recorded music operation had a then-present run-rate of $235 million per year in revenue from “alternative offerings that create new use cases for music”, including the likes of Peloton and Roblox.
“The intersection of fitness and gaming is an enormous opportunity that I think each industry has only touched the surface of thus far.”
Oana Ruxandra, Warner Music Group
“The intersection of fitness and gaming is an enormous opportunity that I think each industry has only touched the surface of thus far,” said Oana Ruxandra, Chief Digital Officer & EVP, Business Development, Warner Music Group.
“Lanebreak combines Peloton’s already incredibly immersive content with the interactivity of games and the power of music, to great effect.”
In a blog post announcing Lanebreak, Peloton says that its “experience has been inspired by gaming since the very beginning”.
“The Peloton experience has been inspired by gaming since the very beginning.”
Adds Peloton: “With Lanebreak, we take this a step further, offering members an interactive experience that challenges them and rewards them in real time for their actions.
“We are particularly excited about this as it exposes an audience who may not be as comfortable or familiar with gaming-inspired experiences, to how powerful it can be as a motivator.
“We are still early in our journey. Over the coming months, Members can expect to see new mechanics and challenges introduced to Lanebreak. We’re also actively exploring new platforms and formats. As with everything we do, we look to Members for inspiration and insights, and cannot wait to hear what the community has to say.”
The launch of Peloton’s new music-meets-fitness game follows last week’s news that the firm’s co-founder John Foley is stepping down as CEO and and being replaced by former Spotify CFO, Barry McCarthy.
The leadership shakeup is part of what Peloton calls a ‘comprehensive restructuring program’ in the wake of a post-pandemic sales slump.
Peloton also announced that it’s cutting 20% of its global workforce (2,800 jobs).Music Business Worldwide