In-car play is one of those things that manufacturers want to believe will really take off, despite the fact that we haven’t seen much evidence to back it up. Mobile and “casual” games seem fine, but people already have access to them on their devices. Then there is Tesla, put the power of a gaming PC into its cars for all those times you want to spend two hours in a parking lot playing The Witcher III. None of this sounds very appealing, but what the hell – BMW wants, and the Series 5 2024 will be able to support a light gaming spot in partnership with a service called AirConsole.
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AirConsole is basically an app that hosts a bunch of games, many of which are multiplayer and indie titles, which you can access with a subscription. It’s similar to Apple Arcade, except unlike Apple Arcade, AirConsole lets you project gameplay onto a dedicated screen while players use their own devices as controllers. The idea with the new Series 5 is that gamers will see the game on their car’s infotainment screen, but will use a phone or tablet, paired via a QR code, to control their experience.
If you’re a parent stuck in the car with your kids — and the car not movingto be clear – you can pass the time with a range of so-called “casual games”, such as BMW mentions in its press release. One of them happens to be Overcookeda must for the cooperative:
With AirConsole, gamers can play so-called casual games. They are games that are easy to pick up and play and intuitive to control. The selection available for the market introduction of the new BMW 5 Series Sedan includes racing, sports, quiz and music quiz games as well as simulation, strategy, jumping and racing and puzzle games . The fifteen titles available from the start include “Go Kart Go”, “Golazo”, “Music Guess” and “Overcooked”. The portfolio of available games will be continuously expanded.
BMW Blog tried a demo of the feature themselves and found the performance satisfactory. Games are small enough to download from the cloud and then store and run on local hardware inside the car.
The thing is, the Series 5 screen isn’t much bigger than an iPad. And since chances are you or your child already have games on their tablet, what exactly is the benefit here? AirConsole offers limited, ad-supported access to select titles for free, but requires an annual subscription of $24 or $8 per month to explore its full library with the maximum number of players. A review on the Google Play Store gave the service three stars, with a ringing endorsement to end all others: “The only thing is there aren’t a lot of good games.”
Jalopnik contacted BMW to inquire about pricing, and specifically whether the automaker will issue a separate charge in addition to the AirConsole one. While the company isn’t yet offering full details, a rep said AirConsole is “included with the Series 5 ConnectedDrive Professional for one year, and can then be flexibly activated for a fee.” . It looks like one of those take-it-or-leave-it-on-a-car-trip luxuries, but they’re not a heavyweight for BMW’s in-car hardware, and someone might subscribe to that. So here they are.