And everything is dumb…
Ford put out an official press release not too long ago to brag about how it “gamifies” the Mustang Mach-E using an escape room concept. It took approximately no time for countless automotive media outlets to praise this as a brave and strong move while wondering why more automakers don’t do the exact same thing. If anything should cause you to think there are some seriously weird things going on at the management level of Ford as well as in many car news websites these days, this is it.
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It’s pretty easy to see why anyone would want to escape the Mach-E. After all, they’re probably desperate to get into a real Mustang, and I’m not talking about one of those EcoBoosts. Ford thinks it’s going to harness the popularity of escape room games to get people interested in the Mach-E. It would be better and even more gimmicky if they put an escape room game in a Ford Escape, because then people could escape their Escape.
Per the press release, the game controls “elements of the car to create an interactive experience.” The concept is a spy-themed game, so you’re deep undercover and are trying to deliver some mysterious package.
Some people are thinking this is a great way to pass the time while the all-electric Mach-E is charging. That might be since it can be quite the wait, depending on the charger you use. However, Ford makes it clear you can play the game while driving down the road. I wouldn’t recommend the driver plays, but we all know some will anyway.
The escape room concept could lead to more nagging from your car and who knows what else. “This is a bit of fun that has a serious side, as it shows just what could be possible with the technology we have in cars today,” explained Carsten Starke, technical expert interior materials & customer experience, Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, Ford of Europe. “Having the ability to create interaction between vehicle and driver could open up new ways to explore other possibilities in the future, like an interactive owner’s manual or even driver coaching.” With modern vehicles squawking at drivers over all kinds of things, this is exactly what everyone wants to hear.
For now, this escape room game is a concept, so it’s not being offered to consumers. But it sounds like it or something similar could one day go to market. While many of my fellow auto journalists think this is great, or at least that’s what they’re saying, this sounds absolutely annoying and silly to me. I buy a car to drive it, transport other people and things in it, and that’s about it. Call me old fashioned if I’m not interested in buying a car for games to play inside it.
Before you get too excited about this development, it’s important to note this escape room concept is being developed by Ford’s European division. In other words, we might not see it here in North America. But if Ford decides it’s a success, which I have no idea how they’ll define that, we might see this and similar concepts trickling or even flooding into this market. I’ll be driving an old Bronco to escape the escape room nonsense and whatever rides in on its coattails.