Tesla Making Big Change to Playable Video Games in Cars

Following a software update, Tesla cars will no longer be able to play video games while in motion. The touch screen in Tesla vehicles was meant to allow passengers the opportunity to play games like Cuphead, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Cyberpunk 2077. However, an investigation was opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into whether drivers were the ones actually playing these games. Previously, games were only accessible while the vehicle was in park, but that changed with an update one year ago. In a statement, the NHTSA addressed Tesla's reversal. 

"Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla's 'Passenger Play,' Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature," an NHTSA spokesperson said in a statement provided to CNN. "In a new software update, 'Passenger Play' will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion."

Even if passengers are the ones playing the games on the car's touchscreen, there were concerns from the NHTSA that it "may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash." Given how animated some gamers can be when playing, it's not hard to imagine what a distraction that could be! Passengers can always opt to use portable gaming devices instead, and the screens for systems like the Nintendo Switch or Analogue Pocket would be far less visible to drivers. The NHTSA investigation into Passenger Play was spurred by a complaint from an anonymous Tesla owner. The complaint regarded both the accessibility of video games, as well as web browsing.

"The video games are allegedly restricted only to passengers. Web browsing is available to anyone at any time," the complaint reads. "Why is a manufacturer allowed to create an inherently distracting live video which takes over 2/3 of the screen which the driver relies on for all vehicle information? NHTSA needs to prohibit all live video in the front seat and all live interactive web browsing while the car is in motion. Creating a dangerous distraction for the driver is recklessly negligent."

CNN points out that the NHTSA is also investigating Tesla vehicles over accidents involving Autopilot options, insinuating that drivers distracted by video games could overly rely on those options, which are supposed to be used only when the driver remains aware and keeps both hands on the wheel. It's unclear whether there is any connection, but Tesla's decision to limit the video game feature could make a difference!

Are you a Tesla owner? What do you think about this change? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!

[H/T: CNN]