Microtransaction hell intensifies as Mercedes turns improved car acceleration into a subscription

Mercedes is taking on the hellish tactics pioneered here in the videogames industry by offering owners of their Mercedes-EQ electric vehicle line the “opportunity” to pay a huge yearly fee in order to make their car go from 0 to 60MPH faster.  You can get this on either the EQS or EQE cars, where it’ll provide something like a 0.8 to 1.0 second increase in the acceleration from 0 to 60.

As reported by The Drive (opens in new tab), Mercedes is asking (opens in new tab) $1,200 a year to “Accelerate more powerfully: increase the torque and maximum output of your Mercedes-EQ.”

To be clear, this is unacceptable and absurd in the extreme. It’s something I’d expect out of a parody of corporate greed. This is charging for a software update that more optimally tweaks the car’s torque by fine-tuning the electric motor. It’s not some expensive, expansive cloud-computing service that needs moment to moment calculations delivered to the vehicle. It’s artificially limiting the power of a machine someone paid for unless they pay a subscription.

Mercedes’ cash grab comes after controversy earlier this year when BMW wanted people to pay to use (opens in new tab) the heated seats in their vehicles. A physical feature of their car. A piece of simple physical equipment. People responded to this by pirating their heated seats. (opens in new tab)

Both of these are madness-inducing, and I hope that these sociopathic “innovations” don’t make their way back to PC gaming. Imagine how excited Nvidia or AMD would be to sell you a service that makes your graphics card “go faster”? How thrilled would Intel be to run a subscription that “unlocks two cores!!” on your CPU? Wait, this kind of already happens (opens in new tab)?

Frankly, I’m upset just thinking about it.

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