Will Elon Musk Get the Ban Hammer? Tesla Hounded by Feds Over Video Game Feature

  • Tesla adds the ability to play video games while the car is in motion
  • Musk is already chatting with the NHTSA over the feature
  • Tesla has not responded to anyone’s request for comment

Well, here we are again, discussing another new hot Tesla take with angry feds in tow. For now, it’s not about Tesla’s quality issues or self-driving. This time, it involves gaming, a particular passion of Elon Musk‘s. See, drivers (and front-seat passengers) can now play video games in their T-branded EV. Obviously, the feds are in tow because, well, that’s super dangerous.

The interior of a Tesla displaying video game titles on the center infotainment screen
You can play video games while in motion | Tesla

Can you play video games in a Tesla while driving?

The interior of a Tesla Model S displaying video games on the rear screen
Games can also be played in the rear | Tesla

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You can in fact play video games in any number of models, including the Model S (and Plaid). A new report by The New York Times featured a firsthand account from an owner on the matter. “I only did it for like five seconds and then turned it off. I’m astonished. To me, it just seems inherently dangerous,” the owner told the Times. Musk’s EV company sent this ability to cars this summer, and issues are starting to emerge because of it.

The update was handed out via an over-the-air update, like much of Tesla’s fixes for their cars. It’s revolutionary, to say the least, but sometimes it creates more problems than it solves, as we see here. Tesla might say the feature is obviously not meant for the driver, but the passenger. Given people’s behavior with regard to “Full Self-Driving,” we’d say it’s best not to trust anyone with Mario Bros. in the front seat.

Why is the US government investigating Tesla?

And that brings us to yet another self-wrought NHTSA chat with Elon Musk and Tesla. “Aspiring to comedy” is all well and good, but perhaps aspiring to the safety of one’s customers is also a solid idea, at least in the eyes of the NHTSA. Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association told the Times Tesla “is crying out for (the) NHTSA to provide some guidance and regulation.”

And provide the NHTSA has. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started the discussion on the safety of this feature, as well as Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” already. The Times also asked Musk and Tesla for comment on the safety of the feature. They did not respond at the time of this article’s publishing. In fact, Tesla does not have a marketing (or media) department at all. Journalists are not able to request test vehicles from the OEM as they would with other manufacturers, nor is it easy to get a request for comment answered.

An NHTSA investigation puts Elon Musk on the ropes

Elon Musk smiling and pointing
Musk faces down more federal intervention | Patrick Pleul via Getty Images

How long the company and its leader stay mum is a toss-up. By now, Musk may have already shot out another porcelain throne hot take (something he’s admitted to doing on his own feed). It’s hard to know when or if this issue will be addressed, but the NHTSA is clearly taking the video games update pretty seriously. Stay tuned for more updates here.

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