Tesla CEO Elon Musk may finally be turning his electric car into a big Steam Deck, if his own tweet is to be believed.
Responding to an account that celebrated Tesla’s gaming features as they exist now Musk said his company (opens in new tab) is “progressing with Steam integration”. Adding that a demo is coming next month (August 2022), “probably”.
Based on the non-committal nature of the tweet, it’s definitely worth taking Musk’s promise with a pinch of salt – as well as his promise to buy Twitter, there’s a chance he’ll back off that too and hold on to the Steam Tesla demo for longer. a month (or more). But at least it looks like the ability to play Steam games on your Tesla is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Musk first discussed bringing Steam games to Tesla in February. At the time, He explained (opens in new tab) that being able to bring an entire 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 good idea, we’ll have to wait for the demo to see if Musk’s plans for Steam are practical. The Steam Deck certainly showed us that low-powered portable hardware can accomplish some impressive PC gaming feats, but there’s a distinct difference between a car and a device built from the ground up to be a lean, average gaming machine.
Even if it’s possible, players can be severely limited in the games they can play. So if we get a demo next month, there’s no guarantee that all or even most Steam games will be supported by your Tesla. Your dreams of playing Cyberpunk 2077 on your regular Model S may have to wait a little longer.
Analysis: Is it all just fun and games?
You’re probably wondering why a Tesla needs Steam or any gaming system built into it. Texting and driving is already dangerous, certainly throwing Cuphead in charge of a vehicle is even less safe.
Thankfully, these entertainment updates aren’t meant to distract drivers while they’re on the go, with gaming instead of making their parked time more enjoyable.
One downside of electric cars is that they can take quite a while to charge, especially compared to the mere minutes it can take to completely refuel a gasoline or diesel vehicle. This means drivers can spend nearly an hour waiting while the car recovers the energy it needs to finish the trip.
While reducing this waiting time is the best option, it is very difficult to increase the battery charging speed without risking permanent damage to the battery – potentially making the situation worse as your car would need to be charged more often. So some electric car manufacturers have chosen to make that wait more pleasant.
Sure, playing games and watching movies in your car can drain your battery a bit, but it’s so little compared to the amount being charged that it won’t seriously affect 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 and PS5 — cost even more. Case in point, the Model S Plaid will cost $129,990 / £118,980 / AU$186,990 for its most entry-level model.
But as the technology becomes cheaper, we could one day be driving the biggest handheld consoles ever made.
If you want to play some games today, we recommend checking out our list of the best gaming consoles for something much more reasonably priced than a Tesla.