Uber Launched its Own Video Game
So, Uber just launched a new video game. Seriously.
But it’s not just meant to be a good time — it’s meant to recruit new drivers.
Called UberDRIVE, the game takes place in San Francisco and tasks users with making pickups and delivering passengers safely to their destinations. Here’s how the company describes it in a recent blog post.
UberDRIVE showcases a day in the life of an Uber driver-partner. Players help riders get from A to B and earn high scores for identifying the safest and most efficient routes to their destinations.
It’s available for smartphones on the App Store and is likely to feature other cities soon.
Uber calls it a “great way for prospective drivers to experience firsthand what it’s like to drive with Uber.” That sounds like a stretch. It is just a video game after all.
But it’s very clear is that Uber hopes the game will help recruit drivers. In fact, the game offers a link to sign up and start the process of becoming a driver (or “partner” as the company likes to say.)
It’s certainly a different ploy than the rallies and advertisements the company used in the past.
Wired argues that the new game can generate some much-needed good will:
At first glance, releasing UberDRIVE might seem like a silly ploy. But the company has been wrestling with an image of corporate villainy stemming from a series of unsavory—and very public—blunders over the past few months, many related directly to its drivers. Uber hasreportedly misled driversabout how much money they can make on the service. It offers car financing to drivers, butsome say the terms of the program burden them with subprime loans that could be inflating a bubble in the auto market. Critics also accuse the company of marketing the program to people with bad or no credit.
The New York Times says that even if it’s not popular, UberDRIVE could be a good training tool.
But the app is more than a recruitment tool. It could also serve as a way to educate Uber’s existing driver base, many of whom have never been professional drivers. The game exists entirely on a city map, powered by Google Maps, and includes tips about landmarks and points of interest throughout the Bay Area city.