After a federal investigation, Tesla will officially stop allowing people to play video games in their cars from the on-board touchscreen. The company has been going around making deals for classic games such as Tetris and Sonic The Hedgehog to appear in their cars as part of their touchscreen options which they called “Passenger Play”. The idea was that you can kick back and play a game while you’re parked or have the passengers play while you drive. However, the investigation led the NHTSA to believe it would be more of a distraction to drivers that could potentially cause serious wrecks. Here’s a snippet from CNN’s report.
“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,” said a statement from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesperson late Thursday. “In a new software update, ‘Passenger Play’ will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion.”
The documentation for the investigation, disclosed Wednesday by the NHTSA, said the feature, known as “Passenger Play,” has been available to drivers since December 2020. The games appear on the large touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. While the name suggests it is intended to be played by passengers, nothing prevented drivers from playing while the car is being driven, according to the documentation associated with the investigation.
Prior to December 2020, gameplay was enabled only when the vehicle was in park, the NHTSA investigation document said. Even if the game is being played by a passenger and not the driver, it “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash,” according to NHTSA.
Tesla did not officially make any kind of statement on the issue, which at the moment means there’s no official timeline for when things will be removed from the car’s OS. But we’re guessing the next official update will take care of that.