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Why Is Tesla So Interested In Gaming?

Tesla games on Model S Plaid

It’s no secret that Tesla vehicles are unique and have a lot to offer, but lately, we’ve seen the company put a lot of work towards video games and entertainment inside its vehicles. The goal is to “optimize fun” for owners, which still leaves us wondering why Tesla is so interested in gaming.

Select car models have a Tesla Arcade full of games owners can access, and some people even connect wired game controllers to improve the experience. We’ve seen Tesla add PS5-level graphics to its latest cars, enable (then quickly disable) the ability for passengers to game while the vehicle is moving, and now it looks like support for Bluetooth game controllers is on the way.

One could argue that the company should be putting more effort into its Full Self-Driving software instead of gaming, but both things are essential for the overall goal of autonomous driving in the future.

Tesla wants to keep owners entertained while the car drives itself or while sitting around waiting for the battery to recharge.

Gaming at the Supercharger

A photo of the Tesla Supercharger.

While no one knows for sure what goes on in Elon Musk’s head, one of the biggest reasons the company likely added an arcade is to pass the time while charging. Tesla’s Supercharger stations can recharge a vehicle’s battery up to 80% in about 40 minutes. Obviously, that’s a lot longer than your typical stop at a gas station.

Tesla understands that switching from gas to electric has both advantages and disadvantages. One big disadvantage is the wait to recharge the battery. No one wants to sit around for 30-45 minutes at the back corner of a gas station waiting for their Tesla to be ready to go, and gaming is an easy way to pass the time.

Taking advantage of the large infotainment display inside Tesla vehicles makes sense, so fire up a game while you’re bored waiting for juice. The company is doing a good job adding fun quirks like karaoke and games to its vehicles, even if it doesn’t come right out and say it’s to distract owners from charging speeds.

Plus, video games are fun. In 2019, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said video games are one of, if not the biggest reason, he got into tech. It’s a passion he wants to share with others.

Stay Busy When Cars Are Autonomous

Tesla wireless game controller

Slow charging times aside, the biggest reason Tesla is interested in gaming is to help achieve its overall goal. That goal is to have vehicles ultimately drive themselves. Then, once they do, cars will need to keep us entertained. Several factors go into such a feat. As a result, Tesla is busy improving its self-driving software, hiring game developers, and developing AI software to reach its goals as fast as it can.

In 2020, Tesla made it clear why gaming is important to the company. CEO Elon Musk said, “Entertainment will be critical when cars drive themselves.”

Once the company achieves autonomous driving, drivers and passengers won’t have anything to do during a morning commute or road trip. So, Tesla wants to ensure that once FSD is ready, vehicle owners can play video games, sing karaoke, join Zoom calls for meetings, or anything else you can imagine.

In an autonomous world, anything is possible. So Tesla aims to hopefully offer an excellent and entertaining experience while we’re all sitting in a vehicle that completely drives itself. Well, if that ever happens.

Only Elon Knows

Elon Musk is a busy guy full of ideas, plans, promises, and more. From autonomous self-driving cars, underground tunnelsSpaceX rockets, Robo-taxis, solar roofs, and vehicles that pay themselves off as autonomous Uber’s while you’re at home sleeping.

Maybe Tesla added video games to its vehicles for no other reason than because they could. Elon Musk built a flamethrower for fun, so who knows why the tech billionaire does what he does.

Either way, I’m hopeful that one day I can play Half-Life 3 (or at least Crysis 4) in my fully autonomous Tesla while sitting behind a retracted steering wheel I don’t have to touch.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »