Tesla is expanding the roster of classic Atari games programmed into its cars’ infotainment system. The Model S, the Model X, and the Model 3 will gain 2048 and Breakout when they receive the next version of the company’s software.
The two titles join a growing list of games that includes Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command, titles released in 1979, 1981, and 1980, respectively. The first batch of Atari games was bundled into the V9.0 infotainment update released in August 2018. Motorists who want to travel back in time through the world of video games can play using the buttons on the multifunctional steering wheel, or, depending on the game, by tapping the touchscreen, but Tesla stressed the games are only accessible when the car is parked. Don’t try to decimate space rocks while you’re cruising at 75 mph on a remote stretch of I-15.
Super Breakout and 2048 will be part of Tesla’s next software update. The company announced it will begin beaming the software to compatible cars via its over-the-air software updating system toward the end of the first week of April 2019. The games show Tesla’s fun side. On a more serious note, owners will also receive an upgraded version of Navigate on Autopilot that gives compatible cars the power to change lanes on their own, without requiring input from the driver.
We expect Tesla will continue to add games to its dashboards in the coming years. The initial batch of titles included Pole Position, but the company removed it because it “couldn’t resolve all of the rights issues,” according to company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk. He promised to add another racing game to Tesla’s infotainment system, though one wasn’t included in the latest update.
In August 2018, Musk asked video game developers to apply for a job at the California-based firm. He outlined his vision of making “super-fun games” that integrate the center touchscreen, the driver’s phone, and the car. While nothing is official yet, Tesla could release its own game sooner or later, rather than revisiting classics. Musk’s call reflects a broader trend in the world of in-car connectivity and entertainment.
Other automakers are working toward a similar goal. Audi and Disney notably announced a partnership at CES 2019 that gathers basic, anonymous data about the car and its surroundings (including the steering angle and GPS information) to let the rear passengers play virtual reality-based video games on-the-go. The technology is tentatively scheduled to hit the market in late 2020 or early 2021, though pricing hasn’t been announced yet.
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