Fun fact: the video game industry makes more money than all other forms of entertainment. Combined. Movies, music, television – they have nothing on the kind of profits that video games demand from their players. The other industries out there aren’t blind to this fact, however, and they are looking at video games to see how they can boost their own profits with new and “exciting” revenue streams. One such group is the auto industry, in its infinite benevolence, with various manufacturers developing new technology to really boost sales in the next few years.
So far, a lot of these new programs are pretty “hush-hush.” They’re still trying to figure out the best way to market all of these things to sucker people into paying for them, and they’re studying what the gaming industry has done to make it work so far. While I can’t cite all of my sources for these upcoming developments, I can assure they are very much real, and not merely the offspring of the imagination of a late-30s freelance writer trying to figure out what would be entertaining for you to read.
No, not at all.
One big gaming technology that keeps coming back (no matter how many times players try to make it go away) is the idea of Virtual Reality or VR. The idea is simple: strap on a gaming headset, some gloves, and load up the software, all of which will transport you to a virtual world where you can do and be whatever you want. As technology has improved, this is growing closer to reality, and some of the recent software utilizing VR has been very impressive.
The auto industry is looking to tap into this technology in some “innovative” ways. At least one manufacturer is currently working on VR cars, trucks, and SUVs that you can “drive” wherever you want from the comfort of your own home. Early concerns surrounded the notion that this would, ultimately, be too similar to a video game and not really capture the full experience of having a vehicle.
Fortunately, a solution quickly presented itself: virtual frustration. Rather than simply installing software and jumping into your vehicle, you’ll have to go through a VR version of the car-buying process. A great deal of work is going into writing good AI software to replicate the experience of dealing with a car salesperson – my sources suggest each time they get software that can act like a car dealer, the program follows the First Law of Robotics and destroys itself out of a desire to protect and preserve the human race.
The VR car-buying process will not stop at dealing with a salesperson, however, as you will be assigned a virtual credit score and need to go through the financing process too. I’ve heard from one insider that this program has brought numerous testers to tears, and at least one person had to be hospitalized after 37 straight hours of dealing with financial paperwork and processing. Once you have your vehicle, you will need to take it in for routine maintenance and service, all performed in real-time to adequately provide you with the virtual car-owner experience.
What a time to be alive!
Live Service Vehicles
One of the most impressive innovations of the gaming industry from the last few years is the idea of video games as a “live service.” Rather than simply release a game when it’s done, let people buy it and play it, then move on, game developers instead create games that will keep running and giving players things to do for years to come. This might sound great at first, but it’s just a way to keep making people pay for the same game repeatedly.
Inspired by such bold innovation, the auto industry is following suit with the first of their “live service vehicles” ready to hit showrooms next year. However, the problem car manufacturers had to solve was how to provide upgrades and updates to their vehicles. After all, you can already buy a car, and then decide you want to make some aftermarket additions to it a few years later. The solution came from another fantastic video game innovation: on-disc content locked away behind a secondary paywall.
With live service vehicles, you’ll be able to buy a new truck with tri-zone climate control, but only single-zone air conditioning works when you buy it. A few months later, a significant update will release dual-zone climate control functionality, so long as you’ve purchased the “season pass” for your vehicle. After a full year, you’ll get access to the tri-zone climate control system, if you are buying the “optional” downloadable content (see below) to gain access to it.
This is just one example, and so far, the auto industry has dozens of more ideas. Why sell you a car once, when they can keep selling it to you again and again? And again. And again…
Speaking of selling you the same game over and over again, video game developers realized long ago that they could sell people sequels to the games they enjoyed. Rather than waiting for a sequel, however, they got ahead of it with Downloadable Content, or DLC, which could be released just a few weeks or a month after the initial game. That way, they can keep selling you parts of the game after you bought it.
The auto industry is looking to follow suit by exploiting the aftermarket concept like never before. With their new systems in place, you’ll be able to buy upgrades for your car in new and innovative ways. Want that tri-zone climate control we talked about earlier? Well good news, it’s part of the exciting “On the Road Expansion DLC” for your vehicle.
Simply pay a surprisingly large fee, and you’ll unlock it, plus some exclusive “skins” for your ride. These are just fancy stickers you can apply to your vehicle, but they also unlock exclusive styles and themes for your vehicle’s app. And with social pressure adequately applied, you’ll begin to evaluate your basic worth as a human-based on what you’ve unlocked in the app.
Which brings us to…
Perhaps the single most brilliantly evil creation of the video game industry, microtransactions are small expenses you can pay for relatively minor upgrades or new content. For example, you might have a character in a game you like, and for just a few bucks, you can unlock a new appearance for that character. Neat, right? Well, it’s neat if you ignore the predatory ways the gaming industry has developed and released these microtransactions to feed on people with addictive natures and drive them to financial ruin.
Fortunately, the auto industry would never do such a thing.
Nah, just kidding! Microtransactions for your car, truck, and SUV are coming soon! Want a fresh new horn jingle for your vehicle? Just browse the all-new online Chevy Marketplace to find the one that really expresses who you are. For only a few (hundred) dollars, you’ll be able to unlock exclusive horn sounds, light colors and patterns, and even exclusive engine sounds that really showcase what makes you a unique and dynamic individual. Plus, limited-time holiday events will introduce DLC and microtransactions that you can only get once a year, so don’t wait.
Buy it now, or you’ll be left behind, everyone will laugh at you, no one will ever love you, and you’ll die alone and hated by the rest of the world!
Editor’s Note: We’re not sure if any of this is real. We’d like to believe the auto industry would never do these things, but… but we’re just not sure. One of our people reached out to Chevy for comment on this, but the response sent them screaming and running out of our building, so we’re afraid to follow up; you’re on your own. Thank you.