Mercedes is whimsically adapting one of the most controversial video game trends by adding microtransactions to the car.
Mercedes plans to lock in the electric car’s potential for a staggering $1,200 annual subscription. This subscription gives you “Acceleration Boost” which increases engine potential by 20%-24%, which is 0.8 seconds at 0-60 mph. This service is currently available for the entire Mercedes-EQ range.
The most annoying thing about this surcharge is that there is no physical addition to the car. It is already capable of reaching such speeds, but the manufacturer prefers to block the true characteristics of the car in order to charge a monthly fee from the driver.
While you might think something like this can only be seen in Gran Turismo 7 or Forza Motorsport, in recent years the trend of charging subscription fees or additional payments for real cars has been gaining momentum. In particular, BMW has faced criticism for offering a subscription to built-in features in its cars, such as heated seats. Microtransactions like this are a way for the auto industry to find additional revenue after a difficult few years, but manufacturers that “mutilate” their cars for extra money is a nasty proposition no matter how you look at it.
Pay structures like these are a staple of the gaming industry: DLC, cosmetics, and permanent live services like seasonal content and battle passes appear in most major AAA video games these days. Games like Fortnite, Warzone, Overwatch 2, and Apex Legends have extensive monetization associated with expected continued usage. Is it really impossible to imagine a future in which you will be encouraged to use your car more in a battle pass-like system?