Tesla Adds Poker to In-Car Arcade Games

The UK government announced plans recently to bring forward the deadline by which the sale of new petrol or diesel engine cars will be outlawed. By 2035 or even sooner, it will no longer be allowed to buy a combustion engine car in the UK. On the day the announcement was made, online searches for electric vehicles soared to 162% of their usual rate.

There are many things to consider when purchasing an electric vehicle, some of which are certainly positive while others are factors many people have concerns about. The zero emissions rate is the key advantage, helping to protect the environment as part of the battle against climate change. Some are concerned about the range and how far they will be able to travel between charging points.

Electric Vehicle Charging

As of 2019, there are officially more electric vehicle charging points in the UK than there are petrol stations. Statistics from November 2020 show a total of 12,748 locations for electric vehicle charging in the UK, so EV owners no longer need to worry about running out of juice in between stations.

One downside to electric vehicle charging that is yet to change is that owners have to wait a minimum of 20 minutes to get enough power once plugged in. The makers of Tesla have come up with a solution to relieve boredom while waiting at the charging station. Tesla have introduced in-car arcade gaming, which drivers can access on their centre screen whenever the car is in “park” mode.

Tesla Arcade Games

The list of games is based on classic Atari games, mostly from the 1970s and 1980s in arcade style. Elon Musk has announced new games to be added to the list, which will include more modern variations such as Fallout Shelter. A recent addition to the Tesla Arcade catalogue has been poker.

In partnership with Tencent a huge game developer in China, Tesla are introducing an in-car casino game featuring both Texas Holdem and pot-limit Omaha, Mahjong and possibly more casino games. Texas Hold’em and Omaha are two of the most played and best recognised variants of poker in the world. Once released, Tesla drivers will be able to enjoy playing a few hands and improving their poker proficiency while waiting for their car to charge. This will add to the current list of Tesla Arcade games, which includes:

  • Beach Buggy Racing 2
  • Chess
  • Asteroids
  • Lunar Lander
  • Tempest
  • Centipede
  • Missile Command
  • Super Breakout

Drivers of the Model 3 Tesla can play Beach Buggy Racing 2 by using the actual steering wheel of their car as the controller, adding a unique element to the classic racing arcade game.

Virtual Poker

Poker is a widely played card game that has seen exponential growth in popularity since becoming available online. The accessibility and anonymity online services provide has attracted hundred of thousands of new players to the game in recent years.

There are now an estimated 100 million poker players worldwide, according to data gathered by the World Poker Tour. This equates to more poker players than golfers or tennis players.

As such as popular pastime, poker is bound to appeal to many Tesla drivers. Unfortunately for UK drivers, the casino games package will initially only launch in China, but as popularity spreads it could soon be added to new models rolling off production in the UK and around the world.

Tesla Arcade Downloads

All the games so far introduced to the Tesla Arcade catalogue have been free to play and download automatically to the car’s software once available. Drivers do not therefore have to do anything to find out if they have access to the latest games other than switch on their car in park mode.

Game Controls

Most of the games in the Tesla Arcade portfolio are controlled using the touchscreen in the centre of the console. Virtual controls appear on the screen when the car is in park and the game is ready to be played.

Beach Buggy Racer 2 players can choose to use the steering wheel to play, although it should be noted this will also move the wheels of the car! This is less of an issue than it would be if the games could be accessed while the car was moving.

The system also has compatibility with external controllers and supports both PlayStation 4 and USB Xbox One controllers. There is no Bluetooth controller compatibility yet; but wired controllers can be simply plugged in and played with.

There have also been reports of some people choosing to plug in an old-style joystick USB controller, which recreates the feeling of playing the Atari games in their original format.

Getting Started

There are two main ways to access the list of available games for Tesla Arcade. In more recent models, the games can be accessed quickly and easily simply by navigating to the app menu on the main screen.

Drivers of older models may have noticed the “easter egg” feature, which can be found by tapping the Tesla log in the centre of the screen and adds a new dimension to the experience. This brings up a list of hidden tricks for the car, which lead to accessing the games.

Tesla are known innovators in the electric vehicle market, suggesting other manufacturers will eventually follow with in-car gaming features of their own.