Tesla CEO Elon Musk could finally be turning your electric car into a very large Steam Deck if his own tweet is to be believed.
Responding to an account that was celebrating the gaming capabilities of the Tesla as they exist now Musk said that his company is “making progress with Steam integration.” Adding that a demo is coming next month (August 2022), “probably.”
Based on the tweet's non-committal nature, it’s definitely worth taking Musk’s promise with a pinch of salt – just like his promise to buy Twitter, there’s a chance he could pull out on this too and hold the Steam Tesla demo back for another month (or longer). But at the very least, it sounds like the ability to play Steam games on your Tesla is one step closer to being a reality.
Musk first discussed bringing Steam games to Tesla back in February. At the time, he explained that being able to bring a whole platform of supported games to Tesla’s entertainment system was much better for its long-term health than porting individual titles one at a time.
While it certainly sounds like a nice idea, we'll have to wait for the demo to see if Musk’s Steam plans are practical. The Steam Deck has certainly shown us that low-powered, portable hardware can pull off some impressive PC gaming feats, but there is a distinct difference between a car and a device built from the ground up to be a lean, mean gaming machine.
Even if it is possible, players might be severely limited in the games they can play. So if we do get a demo next month, there’s no guarantee all or even most Steam games will be supported by your Tesla. Your dreams of playing Cyberpunk 2077 in your regular Model S might have to wait a little longer.
Analysis: Is it all just fun and games?
You’re probably wondering why a Tesla even needs Steam or any gaming system built into it for that matter. It's already dangerous to text and drive, surely playing Cuphead while in charge of a vehicle is even less safe.
Thankfully, these entertainment updates aren’t aimed at distracting drivers while they’re on the move, with the games instead about making your time spent parked more enjoyable.
One downside of electric cars is that they can take a fair amount of time to charge up, especially compared to the mere minutes it can take to completely refuel a gas or diesel vehicle. This means that drivers can spend the best part of an hour waiting around while their car regains the energy it needs to finish off the journey.
While reducing this wait time would be the best option, it’s quite hard to increase battery charging speeds without risking permanently damaging the battery – potentially making the situation worse as your car would need charging way more often. So, some electric car manufacturers have instead opted to make this wait more enjoyable.
Sure, playing games and watching films on your car can drain some of the battery, but it's so little compared to the amount being charged that it won’t seriously impact how long you have to wait.
Unfortunately, it will take some time to bring these impressive EV entertainment systems to the masses. Electric vehicles already cost a fair amount, and those with powerful gaming specs – like the Tesla Model S Plaid that can run Cyberpunk 2077 as well as a PS5 – cost even more. Case in point, the Model S Plaid will set you back $129,990 / £118,980 / AU$186,990 for its most basic model.
But as the tech becomes cheaper we could one day be driving around in the largest portable consoles ever made.
If you want to play some games today, though, we'd instead recommend checking out our best gaming consoles list for something much more reasonably priced than a Tesla.