The controversial in-game upgrade trend is now surfacing in luxury automobiles! Mercedes-Benz plans on charging customers $1,200 a year to boost the speed of select electric cars.
Are you a weekend warrior? Want to beat your 12-second time on a quarter-mile drag strip without any physical modifications? For as little as $1,200 per annum, Mercedes will potentially boost your luxury vehicle’s engine performance by up to 25 per cent, which equates to 0.8 seconds off the 0-100 km/h acceleration time. What’s next, a ‘battle pass’ fuel-saving update?
There are no physical performance enhancements at play here, meaning the vehicle manufacturer wilfully chooses to nerf the Mercedes-EQ range true performance to collect additional funds from its customers. Foul play or clever marketing?
Mercedes is not the only one trying to squeeze every last drop from customers. BMW faced a similar backlash for offering a subscription to ‘unlock’ features such as heated seats. Yes, a built-in physical component that’s software locked… what a strange world we live in.
Live-service games like Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, and Forza Horizon offer players cosmetic upgrades that essentially personalise the overall user experience, be it a new player skin that celebrates yet another Marvel release, or a popular dance routine transformed into an emote, to an additional vehicle or weapon in the form of episodic DLC. While many might disagree with this method of monetisation, at the end of the day, it’s incredibly lucrative, and besides addictive loot-box mechanics, it’s almost harmless for the most part. However, the same can’t be said about the German automaker’s proposition.
Perhaps the vehicle industry seeks to recover losses made over the last few pandemic-fuelled years, but surely there are better ways to generate additional income. Or maybe, I’m just too old to understand the appeal of a pay-to-perform upgrade.