Since Tesla first introduced in-car gaming with a 2019 port of Cuphead, the list of games available on its “Tesla Arcade” platform has slowly grown to include just under 20 games. Now, though, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has expressed interest in expanding that list of Tesla-compatible games to include the tens of thousands of titles available on the Steam gaming platform.
In true Musk style, the informal announcement of those plans came via a thrown-off tweet in a thread expressing admiration for CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 (a game that has previously been demoed running on the infotainment system for the Model S Plaid). “We’re working through the general case of making Steam games work on a Tesla vs specific titles,” Musk wrote. “Former is obviously where we should be long-term.”
A car’s infotainment center may seem like an odd fit for many of the high-end games available on Steam. But Tesla cars have long sported high-end graphics cards at the heart of both their Media Control Units (for the infotainment console) and the Electronic Control Units used to power the cars’ autopilot self-driving systems.
At the Computex conference last June (as reported by The Verge), AMD CEO Lisa Su said the company was working with Tesla to provide Ryzen APUs and “a discrete RDNA2-based GPU that kicks in when running AAA games, providing up to 10 teraflops of compute power.” That would put the system roughly on par with a modern console like the PlayStation 5, though some of that 10 teraflops may be split among other components (like the ECU) that can’t be used for gaming.
Su added that “we look forward to giving gamers a great platform for AAA gaming,” a statement that takes on new meaning in light of Musk’s tweet about Steam. Tesla Autopilot Analyst Dan James also tweeted back in May about an opportunity for “Linux game devs to work on something *extremely* exciting at Tesla!” Reading between the lines a bit, that could also be a reference to plans for integration with Steam and the Proton-powered Steam Play system that lets Windows-based games run on Linux platforms such as the Steam Deck (and Tesla cars).
While the ability to import your Steam library to your car would be a neat feature, Musk has something of a reputation for making promises that don’t quite pan out as planned. In any case, don’t expect to be able to play any Steam games while your Tesla is in motion; after adding that capability for Tesla Arcade games over a year ago, the company turned it off again following the start of a formal NHTSA safety investigation.