If you thought locking features in video games behind DLC, subscriptions, season passes, etc., was infuriating, spare a thought for owners of new Mercedes EQ luxury electric vehicles. The automaker is offering to unlock the cars’ full performance—for the bargain price of $1,200 per year.
The Drive highlights the optional extra on Mercedes’ online store: an “Acceleration Increase” subscription service for all its EQS or EQE cars. Increasing your vehicle’s torque and maximum output costs $1,200 per year, or about one extra monthly payment; the 2022 Mercedes EQS has a base price of $103,360.
Hedge-fund managers who decide they want to pay the equivalent of $100 per month for something that should come as standard—or a one-off upgrade payment—will receive a “noticeable improvement” in 0 – 60mph acceleration of 0.8 to 1 second. The feature also promises to change the overall characteristics of the electric motors.
Buyers are, of course, paying for a software update that improves performance, so how Mercedes justifies this as an ongoing yearly payment—and one that’s $1,200 annually—is unclear.
We’ve been here before, sadly. It was reported in July that one of the optional extras BMW offered in its vehicles for a monthly cost was heated seats, which cost around $18 per month. It also offers heated steering wheels for $12 per month. But those seem positively generous compared to Mercedes’ subscription.
The response to BMW’s heated seats DLC was for hackers to devise a workaround, so the same thing could happen with Mercedes, though the companies will doubtlessly call these warranty violations.
From the $2.50 horse armor in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion to the Overwatch 2 controversy, monetization, be it in games, hardware, vehicles, or anything else, tends to bring a lot of anger from consumers. Ultimately, however, there are usually enough customers who buy these extras to make the outrage worth it for the companies raking in the cash. As an example, the free-to-play Diablo Immortal has the lowest user score for a PC game on Metacritic (0.3), yet it earned $50 million in its first month.