Trash your PC and throw out your consoles. You won’t need them now that Tesla is planning to bring more games to its cars. After all, why play video games from the comfort of your couch or computer chair when you could sit inside a parked Tesla and use a 17-inch dashboard screen instead?
The company is reportedly expanding its in-car gaming library to encompass all of Steam, according to a tweet from Elon Musk. “We’re making progress with Steam integration. Demo probably next month,” he posted in reply to a positive video review of the current game system. Currently, the built-in Tesla Arcade offers multiple games including Stardew Valley, Cuphead, and even Cyperpunk 2077 in the newest models. But access to the thousands of Steam games would be a big jump.
Important to note though: Tesla gaming is (thankfully), currently only allowed when a vehicle is parked. For about a year from December 2020 to 2021, nothing stopped Tesla drivers from pulling up games on the dashboard screen while in motion. There was a warning that said games were meant for passengers only, but all a driver had to do was click past a single touch prompt to access the games anyway.
Then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating the gaming feature and shut down the play-while-driving option.
To be fair, if it doesn’t cause too much of a draw down on the battery, being able to play a video game while waiting for your car to charge is kind of a cool feature. Yet clearly that’s not Tesla’s end game. Musk has previously said he plans for human drivers to be totally unnecessary in the near future. So an in-car video game console is another bell on top of the whistle of self-driving cars.
In theory, the long term Tesla goal of fully-autonomous vehicles would make safe driver gaming a possibility. But in practice, the self-driving technology is nowhere near complete and competent enough to let a driver use the steering wheel for gaming instead of active error correction while in motion. Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance feature has led to at least 16 crashes with first responder vehicles alone. It’s quite possible that federal regulators will end up recalling Autopilot all together. Last month the NHTSA expanded an existing investigation into the feature.
So, maybe Tesla is leaning so hard into its cars’ gaming capacity in an attempt to distract drivers from the reality of past broken company promises.