Sorry Elon Musk, playing Cyberpunk 2077 in a Tesla is totally impractical — here's why

elon musk tesla cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: credit: Frederic J. Brown/Getty)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is always announcing weird and wonderful features for his cars, and his latest is gaming related. The next Tesla Model S is going to be able to play Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3, two expansive open-world RPGs from developer CD Projekt Red.

That's right, soon Tesla Model S owners will be able to walk the streets of Night City or step into the boots of Geralt of Rivia, while in their car. But someone, somewhere overlooked the impracticality of spending dozens of hours playing massive open-world games in a parked vehicle. Ultimately, it doesn't make much sense.

It’s exciting news to some people, especially Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red. The company saw its share price tank after the game’s disastrous launch, but Musk’s announcement saw it gain a much-needed bump. It probably helped that the Tesla CEO said he liked the game’s aesthetic.

Playing Cyberpunk 2077, a game that cripples the base PS4 and Xbox One, is possible on the Tesla thanks to its on-board computing power. The redesigned Model S has ten teraflops of processing muscle, the same as the PS5. Musk also noted that the new Model S has more storage which can also be upgraded. 

Playing games on a Tesla is not a new idea, however. A number of smaller games have been available for a while now, including retro classics like Asteroids, Centipede and Super Breakout, plus modern titles like Cuphead, Fallout Shelter and Cat Quest. 

You can even install Doom if you know what you’re doing. But that shouldn’t be a surprise considering Doom can run on a pregnancy test.

But the thing is, you don’t need video games in your car. At least not in the way Tesla has done things.

Obviously, the driver can’t play video games while driving, because that would be hilariously unsafe. Plus, because games would have to run on the center console, passengers can’t play while the car is in motion either. There is a display for backseat passengers, but it's uncertain if games can be played while in motion, as that computing power might need to go towards Tesla's autopilot. 

How often are you actually going to be in a position where parking up to play video games is appealing? While you could try and get a quick game of Asteroids, games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 don’t really work in short bursts. Both are massive and require the player to invest time and effort to explore everything each game has to offer.

What’s more, how often are you seriously going to find yourself in a position where playing games in a car is more comfortable than on a dedicated gaming machine? Not to mention, it's going to look especially weird if you're in the middle of a parking lot playing video games. Especially one with as many XXX features as Cyberpunk 2077.

Charging wait times matter, but there's a better way

One potential argument for playing The Witcher 3 in your Tesla Model S is charging times. Unfortunately, electric vehicles can't top off as quickly as gasoline ones. 

According to PodPoint, the 2019 Tesla Model S needs at least 30 minutes to recharge from 20% to 80%. And that’s with a 150kW supercharger. Drop that to 50kW and it’ll take 80 minutes to charge the same amount. 

Eighty minutes is more than enough time to get in a decent gaming session, provided you have to use a public charger. But if you have a charger at home, or are lucky enough to have one at your workplace, then you probably should get out of your car and do other things. Be it gaming on a big-screen TV or, you know, your job.

Unless you’re travelling long distances in your Tesla constantly, chances are you're not going to be spending much time at a public recharge point. And it's even less likely now as the world continues to be bottlenecked by the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, you can always invest in another portable device to get your game on, like the Nintendo Switch. At least you’ll get a much stronger library to go with it.

All this will probably fall on deaf ears for Musk. And he'll probably push on with his Tesla-centric gaming ideas. I guess innovation has to start somewhere, even if it's something nobody asked for.     

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.

  • DinkSinger
    Here are two reasons for games in Tesla's. First right now folks who have to charge at Superchargers on a regular basis need something to occupy the time. The big reason is that long before the Teslas on the road now are retired they will have Level 5 autonomy. Remember when Musk claimed "By the end of next year, for sure, we will have over a million robotaxis on the road. The fleet wakes up with an over-the-air update. That's all it takes"? He wasn't talking about autonomy by the end of 2020 but instead about vehicles that are capable of being upgraded to autonomy with an OTA software update. Things Elon predicts sometimes are late but this one wasn't. Tesla passed that million potential robotaxi number in Q3 2020 if you include cars eligible for a complementary Full Self Driving computer upgrade and in Q4 if you don't.

    Musk also predicted that by the end of 2020 there would be Teslas with full self driving being tested "with no one in them" somewhere by the end of 2020. That didn't happen. Tesla scrapped their 2D FSD software and completely rewrote it for the new 4D software that is now in beta. I expect that it will be sometime towards the middle of 2021 that cars "with no one in them" are being tested.