Nearly two years ago, Tesla teased the possibility of playing console-quality video games on the dashboard touchscreen of the refreshed Model S and Model X, thanks to the addition of a new AMD RDNA 2-based GPU — the same type of silicon powering the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. The company said the cars would be capable of playing CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3. Capable in terms of performance, that is. As owners quickly found, there was no way to actually download the game to the car. That’s changed just in time for gift-giving season, as Teslas now support the Steam marketplace in beta, finally putting that GPU to good use.
The functionality is part of the EV maker’s “Holiday Update” supposedly rolling out now, bringing goodies like enhancements to Dog Mode, plus Apple Music and Zoom compatibility. All while the vehicle assembly quality and overall reliability remain, well, exactly the same as it’s been.
In the tweet announcing Steam integration, Tesla published a video showing gameplay of Cyberpunk 2077, another CD Projekt Red joint. (Elon appears to be big fans of this game.) This is an interesting choice to showcase, because the Ryzen GPU-equipped Tesla touchscreen runs the Steam platform and its games much in the same way Valve’s own Linux-based Steam Deck handheld does. Tesla’s confirmed as much. And Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t officially verified to run on the Deck.
Oh sure — it can run; plenty of people play it there and CDPR has taken steps to improve the game’s performance on the low-power hardware by adding in useful tech, like AMD’s FSR 2.1 resolution upscaling. But it’s not one of the “immersive games that have been verified on Steam Deck” that Tesla recommends in its patch notes. Cyberpunk probably could be verified at this point, being a high-profile game with tons of testing in the public, though obviously there are plenty of titles on Steam that are not as refined.
Thinking about this, I really wish we had a Tesla at our disposal here at Jalopnik, to fire up all sorts of the cursed content Steam is known for that definitely won’t run as intended on Linux-based hardware. If Tesla did this properly, a crashing game shouldn’t make the entire infotainment system lock up. Then again, this is the company that didn’t bother to keep drivers from playing touchscreen games while driving, so we really can’t assume much here.
At any rate, this update has been a loooong time coming. You’ll have to go all the way back to January 2021 for the first mention of triple-A gaming in a Tesla. Remember, this was the same spate of announcements that gave us the yoke. At the time, Musk said “it can play Cyberpunk,” though we wouldn’t have proof of that until nearly 2 years later.
Still, most owners and Tesla fans didn’t really seem to mind when the Steam rollout was delayed this past fall — in part because the company’s software has suffered from other, more pressing issues. “I think Steam (with games [like] Cyberpunk, not talking Tetris) is a pipedream, at least on current [hardware]/platform,” Redditor _yourmom69 so thoughtfully put it at the time. “The thing can barely expand YouTube to full screen and has all sorts of glitches where it’s not responsive, can’t get out, etc.” If you just so happen to own a 2022 Model S or X with the required 16GB of RAM and love to game, let us know your in-car gaming experience in the comments.