Bummer: Tesla's 'gaming computer' that it built a car around for some reason will be 'no longer capable of playing Steam games'

Tesla 2021 Model S interior
(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla's attempt at creating the strangest case for a PC ever devised—that is, building an entire car around a computer—is now dead. As it stands, your Model X and S Teslas will no longer come with Steam integration, making them basically useless. Unless you want to drive them from one location to another instead of playing videogames, I guess.

Launched December 2022, the cars' Steam integrations allowed drivers to play games—while actually driving, for a while, though the US government's investigation into that clear nonsense led to the feature being disabled unless you were parked or recharging. Still, the idea of a car coming packed with a straight-up gaming PC is the kind of fun, speculative-futurist add-on that Tesla banks its whole image on.

As spotted by VGC, buyers of the Model X and Model S received the following message: "Tesla is updating the gaming computer in your Model X and your vehicle is no longer capable of playing Steam games. All other entertainment and app functionalities are unaffected." 

It's not currently believed that owners who bought these models before the change will be impacted—however, those still waiting for delivery appear to have had their new vehicles' Steam support swept out from under them, as per the r/teslamotors subreddit.

Tesla Model X LR Removed Steam Support from r/teslamotors

As a handful of commenters in the ensuing thread point out, this isn't much of a shock: "you're either at home with a real gaming computer or somewhere else where you have other things to do. I only really see it as useful if you had to wait for many hours in your car for some reason". Another commenter adds: "they probably realised it's a car".

Since we're still miles away from a car you can leave to move itself without requiring its driver's attention in case of emergencies, most uses of the in-built PC became niche, to say the least—and if you want to play games in your car while waiting to pick up your kids from school, you can just use a laptop or a Steam deck. That's a lot of money to put into a feature with already-existing, sensible alternatives that anyone with the moolah to buy a Tesla with a gaming PC in it probably already has.

It could also have something to do with the "unpatchable" vulnerability in AMD chips which let Tesla users jailbreak their own cars last year, accessing all the paywalled features in these models. You know, things the car can physically do, but you can't make it do until you flash your credit card at Musk. Supremely normal way for a car to work.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.