Gaming and Entertainment Options Forge New Roads for Connected Cars

connected cars

In today’s dynamic digital landscape, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and developers are constantly exploring fresh ways to leverage advanced technologies to enhance the in-car experience for drivers. 

For gaming enthusiasts, this entails immersive in-car gaming experiences that seamlessly integrate with the vehicle’s systems, offering entertainment options that extend beyond traditional driving activities, even while on the road. 

Essentially, cars will no longer just be vehicles for getting from point A to B; they’ll become entertainment hubs that have the potential to turn vehicles into lucrative commercial platforms, while opening up new revenue streams and business opportunities within the automotive space.

Last year, for instance, Nvidia unveiled plans to integrate its cloud gaming service, GeForce Now, into consumers’ connected cars, with Hyundai, Swedish manufacturer Polestar and China’s BYD reported as early adopters at the time. 

This service enables users to stream a real-time, full PC gaming experience directly to their connected cars, allowing gaming while parked, during charging, or for backseat passengers connected to screens. 

Ali Kani, Nvidia’s vice president of automotive, emphasized that computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and connectivity are ushering in new levels of automation, safety, convenience and entertainment within vehicles.

Kani added: “The ability to stream popular titles from gamers’ libraries along with dozens of free-to-play games will bring the in-vehicle infotainment experience to new heights.”  

2023 also saw BMW Group teaming up with gaming platform AirConsole to introduce a new form of in-car gaming, debuting in the new BMW 5 Series. This partnership enables both drivers and passengers to engage in casual gaming activities while the vehicle is stationary, providing an entertaining diversion during charging breaks, for example.

To begin the in-car gaming experience, players use their smartphones as controllers, connecting to the vehicle by scanning a QR code on the curved display. This allows for instant gameplay, with the AirConsole app supporting multiple players at once, including rear passengers. 

Taking things up a notch, tech provider Xperi is developing a gaming prototype as the next addition to DTS AutoStage, the platform facilitating hybrid radio integration in vehicles worldwide.

According to Xperi’s senior vice president of broadcast radio and digital audio Joe D’Angelo, the envisioned games, ranging from name-that-tune challenges to sports trivia, will enable radio station brands to engage both passengers and drivers using voice interfaces and other technologies while on the road. 

Additionally, Xperi anticipates leveraging personalization capabilities to streamline contest entries directly from the car dashboard: “There’s the opportunity for the driver to just sing the last lyric of the song and get a ding-ding-ding or to get entered into a station contest automatically,” D’Angelo reportedly said in a recent report by Inside Radio.

Looking ahead, car manufacturers and developers are likely to continue pushing the boundaries, using technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality and AI to create even more immersive experiences on the road. 

While legitimate concerns for security, safety implications and privacy persist, this trend has the potential to foster collaborations between the automotive and entertainment sectors, thereby paving the way for the emergence of entirely new ecosystems, heightened consumer engagement and diversified revenue streams.