The safety concerns for video games as in-car entertainment

Einzigartiges Entertainment-Erlebnis im Auto: Mercedes-Benz hebt digitalen Luxus mit ZYNC auf ein neues LevelOutstanding in-car entertainment experience: Mercedes-Benz lifts digital luxury to a new level with ZYNC

Video Games as In-car Entertainment? Is It Safe at All?

On top of listening to your favourite jams and playing video content (streamed or saved), did you know you could play video games in your car? Of course, if you’re a passenger, playing video games in the car is as simple as whipping out your smartphone or a portable gaming device like the PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, or Steam Deck. But it’s a different ball game if you’re the vehicle driver.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could kill boredom by playing a few rounds of, say, the Aviator game if you found yourself stuck in traffic? Mind you, unlike audio and video, the gaming options will be limited by the car model or its compatibility with third-party media accessories. So, what are your options if you want to enjoy video gaming in your car? Read on to discover how you can do it, and if you have any safety concerns, we’ll answer all your questions.

How to Play Video Games in Your Car

As mentioned, passengers can easily game with their smartphones or portable consoles. However, things get tricky If you’re in the driver’s seat. The video gaming options for you while in the driver’s seat include the following:

  • Buy a car with a powerful in-built gaming console. Vehicles with the best-in-class gaming rigs include Tesla Model X and S, Mercedes-AMG G 63, and Ford F-150 Lightning.
  • Install the video games on your dash screen if your infotainment supports Android Auto compatibility.
  • If supported, connect a video game console to your car’s media centre via HDMI. However, you’ll require aftermarket inverters to plug in your PlayStation or Xbox.

What About Safety?

Now that you understand your options, the question that must be bugging your mind is how safe it’s to play video games if you’re the vehicle’s driver. Well, the answer isn’t black and white. 

Ultimately, you must be mindful of your environment as a driver to guarantee your safety and that of other road users. Mind you, road accidents still happen even when you aren’t distracted by anything on your infotainment screen. Thus, adding an extra layer of variables like video games does pose some safety concerns.

Nonetheless, if there weren’t any way to play video games in the driver’s seat, then such options wouldn’t come in-built with modern cars. Most recently, automakers from Sony to Hyundai and Honda followed the competition’s footsteps and debuted in-car video gaming options at the CES 2023 technology trade show. 

Drivers Can Only Play Video Games in Parked Cars

Tesla was the first to launch an in-car video gaming option in December 2021 with its Tesla Arcade suite of video games. Playing simpler video games while the car was in motion was initially possible, assuming that its autopilot would be in control in such scenarios. However, following complaints from owners and road safety agencies, the company stopped allowing drivers to play games in moving cars. So, Tesla Arcade games are now only limited to parked vehicles for drivers. 

Similarly, for cars whose infotainment systems are compatible with Android Auto, the app has been designed so that you can only play video games while the car is parked.

Voice-Controlled Games for Android Auto

Android Auto has a solution if you want to play while driving to kill boredom. The only options available on Android Auto for a moving car are voice-controlled mind-jogging titles like Trivia Crack, Jeopardy, and Song Quiz. Therefore, given that you only need your voice to play these games, there’s no point where you’ll have your eyes off the road. So, after all, you can still enjoy yourself on a long drive.

Video Games While Driving Are a No-Go for Apple

Meanwhile, unlike Google, Apple has zero tolerance for video gaming for drivers on its Apple CarPlay application. The app doesn’t allow integration with video games to prevent drivers from getting distracted while on the road. 

As you can see, there are games you can play while driving your car, primarily if it supports Android Auto. However, if it isn’t a voice-controlled video game, playing games that distract you from focusing on the road isn’t safe. Unless you’re a passenger, the safest way to play any other video game that needs your hands off the wheel is while the car is parked. Until we get to a point where we 100% rely on autopilot driving and AI on the road, your hands must stay on the steering wheel and eyes on the road.

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