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Five on Friday: Driving, Dashing and Repairing

Featuring Twitter, Xbox, Nintendo, DoorDash and BMW

This week in subscriptions, Twitter is starting to test CoTweets, allowing for meaningful collaboration between writers, and Microsoft is planning to remove Xbox 360 games from Games with Gold and Game Pass subscriptions. Nintendo is adding more subscription options with a care plan, DoorDash plans to raise subtotal minimums for select orders, and BMW is looking at heated seats as a subscription, but people aren’t happy.

Twitter Starts Testing CoTweets

Twitter, always looking to find new ways to grow, is testing a new feature, called CoTweets. With CoTweets, two accounts can co-author a tweet and both be tagged in a single tweet. The social media platform is testing CoTweets for a limited time, after they started experimenting with the idea at the beginning of the year, according to The Verge.

Currently, this feature is available for select accounts in the US, Canada, and Korea, per Twitter’s Help Page. Twitter explains that users may turn the feature off, and any CoTweets created could be removed after the test is over. On the FAQ page, Twitter further explains that a CoTweet is a co-authored Tweet that is posted to both authors’ profiles, and you’ll see profile pictures and usernames in the header of the tweet.

In order to create a CoTweet, both authors must collaborate and decide what they want to tweet. Twitter recommends using direct messages to talk about what they want to post, then move into draft mode using the standard Tweet composer. Users can select a co-author from their follower list, and tap Send Invite. After the Invitation is sent, content within the CoTweet cannot be edited. TechCrunch reported that users are only eligible to invite one co-author per CoTweet. Additionally, if a user wants to revoke ownership of a CoTweet, they can do so once the Tweet is published, and it will become a regular tweet by the original author.

CoTweets are not able to be promoted, AdWeek reports. However, they can be quote-tweeted by anyone on Twitter, and the co-authors can also collaborate on quote tweets. Currently, only the initiator of the CoTweet can pin it to their profile, and only the first tweet in a thread can be co-authored.

Screenshot on smartphone of a sample of a CoTweet in a Twitter feed.
Source: Twitter

Microsoft to Stop Including Xbox 360 Games in Subscriptions

Microsoft is planning to make changes to their Xbox Game Pass subscription, and taking away new games is one of them. In an email sent to all current Games with Gold and Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, the company shared that Xbox 360 games would no longer be included in the service, effective October 1, GeekWire reported.

“From October 1, 2022, the monthly games provided to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Live Gold members via Games with Gold will no longer include Xbox 360 titles. We have reached the limit of our ability to bring back Xbox 360 games to the catalog; however, Games with Gold will continue to include exciting Xbox One titles and exclusive savings each month,” the company shared in an email.

For users that redeemed Xbox 360 games in the past, the games will remain available. Microsoft has made it clear that the games are not being removed outright from the service, just that no additional games will be added. The removal of the games comes after a final batch of backwards-compatible 360 games were announced in November. With that announcement, the company also shared they were at the limit of their ability to bring new games to the catalog from the past due to licensing, legal, and technical constraints.

This announcement changes the Games with Gold offering, Polygon said. When October comes, it could mean that the offerings could be cut in half, meaning a potential loss of subscription revenue for Microsoft. However, those that have access to the games they  redeemed with Games with Gold now get to keep those games without conditions.

Gaming console and controller for Xbox One
Source: Envato Elements

Nintendo Launches Switch Repair Subscription in Japan

Nintendo is taking another swing at the subscription market with their new offering, aimed at helping users make repairs. With their latest console, the Switch, having issues like Joy-Con drift, it is easy to get frustrated at the system and some of its faults. The gaming company is launching a Switch repair service called “Wide Care.”

On the Wide Care website, Nintendo promises that users can subscribe at any time, no matter when they bought their Switch system, unless the system is already broken. If someone repairs their broken system via Nintendo Repairs, they can subscribe to the service.

The service has a monthly plan and an annual plan. The monthly plan costs a user $1.50 per month, and the annual plan costs a user $15 per year. With the subscription, gamers can take advantage of six repairs per year, two of which can be used to replace the console. Repairs can be used for the Switch, Switch Lite, Joy-Con controllers, the Switch dock, and AC adapters, Video Games Chronicle reported. If a repair exceeds the $735 repair cost Nintendo has cited, a gamer will have to front the excess cost, according to PC Mag.

This subscription makes sense when it comes to protecting a console investment, and $15 a year to replace a console up to two times seems like a smart move. It is unclear if the service will be available outside Japan. Nintendo currently offers Joy-Con repairs to gamers in the US and Europe, so roping this into a subscription could save the company some money in repairs.

Images of Nintendo Switch console, controller and mobile device
Source: Nintendo

DoorDash to Hike Subtotal Minimums

With inflation coming in hot, DoorDash is starting to feel the burn. In an August 12 email update, the company made the announcement that DashPass subtotal minimums may increase. Factors include the store, city, and time of day, according to TechCrunch.

The food delivery company did not share which specific markets would be affected, or what the new minimums are. Currently, the changes are only slated to affect US markets. It does not appear that it will affect restaurant food delivery, but will affect convenience, drugstore, and liquor store orders. DashMart orders will also be affected. DoorDash cited that delivery from stores can be more costly, since customers are more likely to just order one thing, Quartz shared.

“As we continue to expand our offerings to bring customers more selection, including fresh groceries, convenience, and retail items, we are testing and learning what makes the most sense to support all sides of our business, including customers, merchant partners, and Dashers,” said Annabel Sandhu of DoorDash.

Some are speculating that the price increase could also be to help DoorDash increase their Dasher’s wages. Spokespeople from the company have addressed that they want to ensure Dashers are being fairly compensated for the additional work of going through stores and hand-selecting items.

Additionally, DoorDash has done a lot for their drivers to keep them with the company. For example, in March, they introduced a gas rewards program to allow their Dashers to offset rising gas costs. This program gave Dashers 10% cash back on gas, as well as a weekly gas bonus for those who drive the most.

These changes are slated to take effect August 12. In their financial statement released in May, DoorDash disclosed that their total revenue grew 35%, and their monthly active users are at all-time highs. Even with a price increase, it seems that consumers may still be willing to pay a little extra for convenience.

DoorDash bag sitting on a dining room table
Source: DoorDash

BMW’s Heated Seats Subscription Debacle

Vehicle subscriptions have developed a different meaning for BMW. The automaker recently announced  they would start selling subscriptions for heated seats that would cost a driver $18 per month. Currently, BMW’s heated seat option is being offered in several countries. If a driver would like to opt-in for heated seats for one year, it would set them back $180. For three years, a driver would get some savings, paying $300. For “unlimited access,” the cost is $415, according to The Verge.

However, this isn’t BMW’s first rodeo with subscription options. Depending on the region, drivers can opt-in for BMW’s Safety Camera, Driving Assistance Plus, High Beam Assistance, IconicSounds Sport (sounds for your engine), a map update package, an online entertainment voucher, or inclusive service. They decided to go all-in on this venture in 2020.

The heated seat subscription caused some uproar, which backed BMW into a corner. They responded in a press release. The company stated that if a car is initially ordered with heated seats, those heated seats will be fully functional throughout the life of the vehicle. BMW also cited that they did not see factory option purchase levels to be impacted significantly moving forward. However, BMW ConnectedDrive upgrades are designed as subscriptions. In the US, there are two options: BMW Drive Recorder and BMW Remote Engine Start.

If you dig deeper and ask drivers about features for their cars, it’s not surprising how few would pay for additional features through microtransactions. In a survey done by Cox Automotive, three-quarters of those surveyed said that they would not be willing to pay either monthly or annually to get additional services or features for their vehicles. Those surveyed also agreed that heating or cooling seats, remote start, and safety features should all be included in the purchase price of the vehicle.

It doesn’t seem that the subscription market for autos is going anywhere. General Motors earned over $2 billion in in-car subscription revenue last year, The Verge said. The automaker’s goal is to build a subscription on par with the size of Netflix by 2030. However, they offer 45 additional features, to BMW’s current eight features. This could mean that BMW has more room to grow.

BMW X5 M, vehicle interior of a modern car with voice control button and logo BMW
Source: Bigstock Photo

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