A video game on a BMW in-car screen.
BMW Group

Video games in cars always seemed like a bad idea, until they helped prevent thousands of fathers from trying to grab their kids while driving and yelling, “Don’t make me come back there!” But they’re useful for adults while waiting to pick up the kids too.

BMW announced plans to bring video games to new BMW vehicles in 2023 through a partnership with cloud-based gaming platform AirConsole. From a car seat that resembles a video game chair anyway, drivers will be able to play games on BMW’s iDrive Curved Display using their smartphones as controllers.

“This will make every waiting situation inside the vehicle, such as charging, an enjoyable moment,” said Stephan Durach, Senior Vice President BMW Group Connected Company Development. That appears to be a shot at radio, but who knows. What is clear is that senior executives love using the word “leverage.”

Drivers will be able to connect their smartphones by scanning a QR code in the vehicle, so the game will likely be ready to go long before you’re done defrosting.

“We are extremely proud to spearhead gaming inside vehicles with BMW and are excited to create new games for in-car entertainment,” said Anthony Cliquot, CEO of N-Dream, the company behind the AirConsole brand.

To state the obvious, while the games are set to provide the aforementioned “enjoyable moment,” they won’t let you have a really enjoyable moment by playing video games while the car’s in motion. You won’t, for instance, be able to have a totally immersive racing experience by playing a racing game while speeding down the highway, or slowly inching through traffic. That’s probably a good thing.

The games will only be playable with the car in park, like when you’re waiting in line at a Whataburger or Chick-fil-A drive-thru.

Profile Photo for Chason Gordon Chason Gordon
Chason Gordon is a staff writer and editor for How-To Geek. His writing has previously appeared in Slate, Vice, Input, and The Globe and Mail, among others. He currently lives in San Antonio, but is on a month-to-month lease.
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