Key Takeaways

  • Tesla appears to be removing support for Steam games from newer Model X deliveries.
  • It’s not clear whether the change applies to all trims of the Model X, or if it might affect existing owners.
  • It’s likely a cost-cutting measure to keep pricetags in check.

Tesla could be nixing support for Valve’s Steam gaming platform from newer versions of the Model X, according to a delivery notification shared on Reddit and spotted by The Verge. The notification warns one buyer that Tesla is “updating the gaming computer in your Model X,” making it “no longer capable of playing Steam games.” It’s not clear whether the update involves hardware or software, or if it might apply to all Model X trims — the buyer in question chose the less expensive Long Range version.


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Likewise, there’s no immediate sign that Tesla plans to remove Steam support from vehicles that already have it — that is, more recent versions (from 2022 onwards) of the Model S and X. But the rest of the company’s lineup may point to a trend. Steam isn’t available at all on the Cybertruck, and the company still hasn’t committed to putting the software on newer versions of the Model 3 and Y that have fast AMD Ryzen processors. Valve uses a compact, all-in-one Ryzen processor to power its Steam Deck OLED handheld.

Steam is the dominant storefront for PC games, and the processors in the Model S and X are powerful enough to play visually demanding Steam titles like Cyberpunk 2077. Drivers can pair a Bluetooth controller with their vehicle’s dashboard, and access nearly anything they’ve already bought for their desktop, laptop, or Steam Deck. The technology is highly unusual in the auto industry, given that many cars struggle to run their basic interfaces, let alone photorealistic 3D graphics.

Cyberpunk 2077 running on a Tesla's dashboard. Why would Tesla remove Steam?

If Tesla is scaling back hardware in newer Model X deliveries, it could be one of its latest attempts to cut production costs and keep prices competitive. Gaming-level graphics, RAM, and storage doesn’t come cheap, and the number of people enjoying Steam games on their vehicles might not be considered worth the expense in chips, which can in turn push up sticker prices. PC games also tend to become more graphically demanding every year, so supporting Steam could be committing the company to refreshing chips every two or three years, even when the rest of its dashboard interface is running smooth as glass.

Tesla is currently engaged in a price war with Chinese EV makers like BYD — which have an inherently lower production costs — as well as the growing number of competitive EVs available elsewhere from brands like Kia and Hyundai. To streamline finances, CEO Elon Musk has pursued massive layoffs which could ultimately affect upwards of 20,000 people. Recently, Musk fired most of the company’s Supercharger division, despite EV adoption continuing to grow and Supercharger stations opening up to business from non-Tesla vehicles. The executive says Tesla still plans to announce robotaxi plans in August, and ultimately launch an inexpensive, long-promised budget car. Even the Model 3 is too expensive for most shoppers, starting at about $40,630 in the US, whereas a gas-powered Honda Civic is as little as $23,950.

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