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Pay to Play: BMW locks certain digital functions behind paywall

Seoul, South Korea — Taking a cue from the airline industry and mobile gaming, BMW is pushing paid subscriptions as the only way customers access certain services.

According to BMW South Korea’s website, several functions on consumer BMWs have been rebranded as the “connected booster package,” locking off certain digital functions behind a subscription-based paywall.

This includes more cosmetic options like software to make your car sound more powerful, and more practical functions like heated seats, dashboard camera recording and automated headlight beams. These services vary between $10 to $20 CAD a month or a $180 to $400 one-time payment, rebranded as an unlimited use subscription.

While this subscription-based model has not been rolled out in the North American market, it has been rolled out in Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.

For clarification, these subscriptions grant you access to the hardware already present on a BMW vehicle. You are not getting new hardware installed, you are paying to gain access to hardware in your vehicle.

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