“Now, you can pimp your mother******* browser.”
This is a real line from what might be the most polarizing software ad of 2023: Opera’s team-up with rap legend Xzibit to promote — er, pimp — Opera GX’s GX Mods, custom modifications to the Opera GX browser.
What mods? According to Opera, unique looks (animated wallpapers and themes), sounds (keyboard and UI) and shaders (GPU-driven effects that render in real-time while browsing the web). In the words of my colleague Michael Crider, this looks like something you’d see 15 years ago. Well, to be fair, so does Xzibit.
Opera GX debuted a few years ago, promising CPU and GPU optimizations for gamers, and later adding features like Discord to the GX browser as well. Over time, Opera began customizing it more and more for gamers.
To this aging reporter, the whole thing sounds more than a little cringe, capitalizing on the nostalgia of the “Pimp My Ride” series, a three-year run that began *checks notes* 21 years ago on a channel that’s now known for catfishing, RuPaul, and whatever “Ridiculousness” is. That would be MTV, which *checks notes again* was once known to play music videos.
But hey, Xzibit probably was paid about what the average journalist makes in a year just for posing and (hopefully) toking up while animated characters bounce around. Good for him. After all, if we made a series of videos where Gordon Mah Ung screams about the awesome power of the GeForce GTX 1080, can we really be too critical?