Seat heating is the latest microtransaction available in some high—end BMW vehicles, which complements other features such as advanced cruise control and automatic headlight switching as a monthly subscription.
According to The Verge, BMW currently offers this feature in the UK, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa for the equivalent of about $18 per month or $415 for lifetime access, which can be purchased in its store.
If it is possible to buy heated seats or other add-ons in the customer’s car, then the components and functions already exist in the car, but BMW has a software unit that does not allow them to be used without payment.
Overnight trip on the 530e. I pressed the high beam help button, but the message from the car, in fact, read: “No, first you need to buy this feature in the ConnectedDrive store.” BMW and Merc are aiming to do this more in the future, so it’s not the first time we’ll see this… 💡💰 pic.twitter.com/hQzkwhP1Oe
— Jake Groves (@_jakegroves) March 24, 2021
Jake Groves shared his experience with microtransactions on Twitter (above), saying that when he was driving a BMW 530e, he pressed the high beam switch only to be told that he first had to buy it at a store where it’s the equivalent price of about $12 a month or $237 for unlimited access.
There are several other features available for purchase — some of them can only be purchased for £750 (or $888) — for example, an alert that notifies the driver when he approaches the speed camera, something that is often free if you use your phone as a navigator.
The full list includes: active cruise control with Stop and Go function, adaptive suspension M, Apple CarPlay preparation, BMW motion recorder, BMW security camera information, Driving Assistant Plus, heated front seats, driving beam Assistant, IconicSounds Sport, Map. an upgrade package, a voucher for online entertainment and a heated steering wheel.
BMW’s competitor, Tesla, also recently introduced some wacky new features, such as a karaoke microphone for its cars and the ability to play games including The Witcher 3.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll be talking about the Witcher all day.