First look: gaming on Steam in a Tesla

Posted on January 09, 2023 by Peter McGuthrie

The features inside Tesla’s vehicles are ever expanding, and many have high hopes for what future software updates could bring to their cars. One such feature, the ability to play video games when parked, has finally arrived with the introduction of Steam in Tesla’s vehicles. 

Above: The Steam beta displayed on a Tesla touchscreen. (Image: Tesla)

Tesla has finally debuted a beta version of the gaming platform Steam in the Model S and X with the recent holiday update, as detailed in a first look from Not a Tesla App. The system offers a library of thousands of game options now available from within the user’s Tesla, without any weird workarounds.

The news comes after Tesla has been teasing Steam and gaming support for years, most recently with CEO Elon Musk promising a demo of the platform in August. While the demo never came, actual Steam integration has arrived to the delight of many gamer Tesla owners.

Steam is currently only available on Tesla’s newest Model S and X units with 16 GB of RAM, but Musk recently confirmed plans to offer a retrofit for older vehicles. Model 3 and Model Y vehicles do have Tesla’s most recent AMD Ryzen chip, though hey don’t include a discrete GPU like in the S and X. Tesla could eventually add Steam to MCU 3 vehicles such as the Model 3 and Y, though MCU 2 vehicles likely won’t gain this feature.

To use Steam, users must download games from the library to store them locally. According to Not a Tesla App, the vehicles include a roughly 80 GB partition dedicated to game storage, or you can also use external storage devices, like the 1 TB solid-state drive Tesla now sells for $350 — or any solid-state drive, for that matter.

Gaming takes place on the front touchscreen of the vehicle, though not on the rear 8-inch display — despite the fact that the rear screen can stream movies while the vehicle is driving. For now, games can only be played on the front touchscreen while the vehicles are in park, though it’s possible that Tesla could update this in the future.

Above: Your Tesla is Now a Gaming Rig. (Video: Tesla / YouTube)

Tesla requires a Premium Connectivity plan to access Steam, despite the fact that games are downloaded using Wi-Fi. Additionally, Tesla also has Steam profiles and game data synced to the Steam Cloud, which is likely one reason for the use of Premium Connectivity. This also lets users hop into their games whether inside their cars or at home.

Bluetooth controllers are also now supported with the recent update, and Tesla says the vehicles tend to work best with PS5 controllers. Tesla also unveiled its own proprietary controllers last year, though few mentions of them have come along since the design was first shared.

Beyond fun, playing Steam games in a Tesla could be a particularly useful feature for time spent charging or doing other stationary activities. In any case, we hope to see this eventually expand to Model 3 and Y vehicles, but for now, Model S and X owners remain the lucky few.

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Source: Not a Tesla App / YouTube

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Posted in Holiday Software Update, Model S, Model X, Steam, Steam beta, Tesla


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