Why Steam Compatibility In Your Tesla Isn't That Far Fetched

In December 2020, Elon Musk said in a tweet, "Entertainment will be critical when cars drive themselves." It's no surprise, then, that he followed up that message with another tweet in February 2022 revealing an effort to integrate Steam with Tesla's infotainment system.

Steam is a digital video game distribution service from Valve and the platform of choice for most PC gamers. The company boasts massive numbers of daily and monthly active users, and integrating the Steam platform into Tesla's infotainment system would give drivers access to an enormous library of high-end games. 

It's a feature that would put Tesla's entertainment system well above its competition and make long charging sessions a bit more bearable, though the offering would likely be viewed as an additional perk rather than the main reason someone would decide to purchase one of these expensive cars.

The high-profile EVs have already captured headlines with their innovative all-electric design and zero to 60 acceleration. That's not the whole story, though, as these vehicles also come with several "fun" extras, including Tesla Arcade. As the name implies, Arcade provides occupants in the vehicle with video games they can play on the in-dash display. 

At the time of writing, Tesla Arcade includes a long list of fun games, including "Stardew Valley," "BeachBuggy Racing 2," solitaire, and chess. The platform even has a smattering of Atari classics like "Asteroids," "Centipede," and "Missile Command" available on-demand, though it looks like this may just be the start of Tesla's car-based gaming ambitions.

Playing games on the dashboard

Tesla's cars already have some of the largest dash screens in the industry, clocking in at 17-inches with a 2200 x 1300 resolution in the Model 3, for example — something more than adequate for playing a detailed game. New versions of the Model S and X vehicles also come equipped with an upgraded computer featuring AMD graphics processing units (GPUs) capable of running CD Projekt RED's "Cyberpunk 2077," a very graphics-intensive game available through Steam.

It's possible drivers and their passengers will one day be able to play this game and Steam titles like it in Tesla's EVs, but the road up to this point hasn't been entirely smooth. The automaker caught the attention of the NHTSA in 2021 when the Department of Transportation grew concerned about in-car games that were playable when the vehicles were in motion. The issue arose when Tesla released a software update that allowed riders to launch "Passenger Play" while someone else was driving, a potential safety issue that triggered the investigation and resulted in the automaker pulling the feature soon after.

It sounds like a marriage between Steam and Tesla is just a matter of time, and combining the two would make these EVs the most unique way to play PC games on the go. Unfortunately, we still don't know when Steam support will arrive — assuming it does at all.