Posted on: December 12, 2022 Posted by: Marcus Collins Comments: 0

Photo by Marcus Collins

Gaming companies are as greedy as IRS phone scammers when it comes to charging customers for extra niceties, dubbed microtransactions. And it looks like car manufacturers—including Mercedes-Benz—are following suit by using microtransactions in their products to take advantage of consumers. Mercedes-Benz wants to charge $1,200 per year for faster acceleration, a feature that cars should already come equipped with.  

This is simply immoral. Microtransactions are a cancer to any industry they touch, and they are spreading at a rapid rate.

Marcus Collins

Photo Editor

In the case of Mercedes-Benz, charging extra makes sense from a corporate standpoint, but it leaves a bad taste in consumers’ mouths and may make them reconsider buying.  

After the news broke on social media, the Internet went into an uproar. Mercedes-Benz is using a shoddy manipulation scheme used in the gaming industry called gacha. These types of games tempt players into purchasing extra in-game features to progress. And if you don’t get the item you want, it will encourage you to pay again and again and again until you get what you need, and your funds are all gone.  

Mercedes-Benz is playing gacha on a larger scale, having people pay yearly for a performance upgrade locked behind a computer screen tablet most cars have. The upgrade increases torque output and power acceleration to give the vehicle a performance boost. Now it is locked behind a paywall like it is a mobile game.

I play games to escape reality and despise pay-to-win features, as they create an unfair gaming environment. Now Mercedes-Benz is pay-to-win, and the prize is more speed. We aren’t piggy banks, we are people. This kind of tomfoolery must stop. 

Ridiculously enough, this is not the first nor the last company to follow this disturbing trend. BMW announced in July that they will start charging $18 a month for heated seats in certain countries outside the United States. That announcement garnered intense criticism and backlash for charging for a basic feature.

Mercedes-Benz is playing gacha on a larger scale, having people pay yearly for a performance upgrade locked behind a computer screen tablet.

According to The Verge, BMW has been slowly locking away features behind a paid subscription service since 2020. These features include high beam assistance, driving assistance, and map update assistance. Why would you want to monetize things that can help drivers avoid accidents and high traffic areas, as well as features for winter when it gets too cold outside? 

This action alone sums up everything that is wrong with microtransactions in general. They offer no general benefit to make things better; they only exist for the company to make money off the backs of their customers after a product has been sold.

Video games today are released broken and unfinished, with missing features being added afterwards, a prime example being Battlefield 2042. Releasing a game and calling it ‘live-service’ when it is an early-access release that is unfinished is a scam.

What BMW and Mercedes-Benz are doing is a scam. There is no way to justify this, and we shouldn’t just shut up and take it. Microtransactions in video games are already bad enough with companies’ nickel-and-diming their customers on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) cosmetics and events, pressuring players to buy exclusive items that are never coming back again.   

Back in older video games, you could work and grind for hours to complete challenges to get special freebies or a badge of honor showing that you put the effort in completing a goal to earn the item. 

Now in today’s times, instead of working to get the best cosmetics, you simply whip out your credit card with the security code on the back and pay to get an item, a feature that once was free and only obtained through struggle and strategy.   

Companies should not be allowed to get away with exploiting customers for easy profits while making claims that inflation is leading to the high rise in prices. Video games cost $70 each, with microtransactions making companies millions of dollars and sometimes billions each year.  

This is getting out of control. We need to push back and question the companies’ marketing tactics. Boycott their services. Save our money. They set the traps. It’s our job not to fall into them.