The Tech Herald

Gaming to blame for impending death of manual transmission vehicles

by Steven Mostyn - Sep 20 2011, 13:50

Too easy! Image: Logitech.

Murder. Assault. Robbery. Rape. Kidnapping. Shootings. Stabbings. Hit-and-Run. Rioting. Bullying. All, if you believe the doom-mongers, examples of societal ills caused by the great unwashed and their demonic love of videogames.

And we can now add the impending demise of the manual gearbox to that long list of complaints, after Chevrolet marketing manager John Fitzpatrick suggested videogames are to blame for rising customer preference where automatic vehicles are concerned.

Although Fitzpatrick conceded that ageing drivers often prefer to abandon having to constantly operate their vehicle’s clutch, he was only too keen to say that younger drivers choose automatics because general videogame driving removes the need for manual shifting.

“There are a lot of people out there who, as they age, do not want a third pedal,” he told WardsAuto during a GM event for the high-performance Camaro ZL-1. “And then you have younger people who have never been exposed to a manual transmission.”

According to Fitzpatrick, the concept of losing performance through an automatic gearbox doesn’t register with many young drivers because they have grown up experiencing videogames that provide high speeds through either automatic in-game changes or via their controller’s quick-shift paddle system—no clutch required.

The opinions of Chevy’s exec are seemingly supported by vehicle data measured over the century’s first 10 years, which shows that some 89 percent of cars purchased in 2010 were automatics—a clear increase from the 88.3 percent registered in 2000.

It’s perhaps worth noting that the 6.2-litre, V8, Camaro ZL-1 (580bhp) comes with Chevrolet’s new paddle-shift Hydra-Matic 6-speed automatic gearbox technology, which is—you guessed it—controlled directly from the muscle car’s steering column.

Naughty, naughty videogames!

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