We all know that driving an Uber can be difficult. There are high turn over rates, you’re part of this rating system and you have to work long hours just to offset the cost of driving. The Financial Times is now giving you the chance to be an Uber driver (kind of) to see if you can succeed where so many people have failed. When I say “kind of” I’m referring to a game, which is aptly named “The Uber Game”. This is a supplement to the story “Uber: The Uncomfortable View From the Driving Seat”. In the game, you try to make ends meet by driving for Uber. The game claims to be based on real reporting, including interviews with dozens of Uber drivers, and is intended to show what life is like for Uber drivers who are under pressure to work as much as possible.
This whole thing sounds like a parent trying to scare their child into going to college. In the game, you get to play the Uber Driver. Think about it in these terms – you are a regular person, but you’ve got kids to feed and a mortgage payment on the horizon. So you need to hit the streets in order to keep your bank account from going into the red. That last sentence sounded like you are a prostitute in this game. But you’re not selling your body. You’re selling the commodity of driving.
There are two settings – easier and harder. In the easier scenario, you have good credit and can afford to live in San Francisco. While in the latter scenario, you have bad credit and have to live in Sacramento. I haven’t been to Sacramento, but that sounds like a slam against that city. From there, you have to choose the right options in order to maximize your earnings. From choosing to buy a car charger and a data plan, to working longer hours to hit bonus quests for extra cash.
At the end of the game, your profits are measured against your costs. Presumably, if you hit your $1,000 profit, you can make your mortgage payment. Some people have played the game and suggested that they weren’t ever able to meet that goal. Which is likely the intent of the game. It’s to show how stressful it can be to be an Uber driver, and maybe deter people from going down that road?
The game itself is a text-based adventure. You don’t actually get to do any driving, which is disappointing. You also have to make nice with your customers. You have to try to balance your resources as well – should you pay out of pocket for vehicle repairs or buy a phone mount? This is a free game, but the intent is to send a message about the life of an Uber driver. Not necessarily to get you to want to play the game more. If nothing else, it will show you what other people have to go through when it comes to their finances. Which, can be both eye-opening and depressing, don’t you think? Check out the game yourself by heading over to the Finacial Times’ website.