BMW Hosts Competition to Develop In-Car Video Games

BMW and casual video game developer AirConsole have launched a competition to develop video games “tailored to the in-car experience.” These will be games that BMW owners can access directly via their car’s infotainment, tailored specifically to BMW models. This also means that, at least for now, BMW models likely won’t include more mainstream games (in contrast to the robust number of AAA titles available in Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles via the Steam platform). Both BMW and AirConsole are promoting the contest at this week’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco.

The contest is already underway, and submissions will be accepted until June 8, 2023. After that date, four concepts will be chosen as winners with each receiving 5,000 euros (which translates to about $5,390) toward the development of a prototype. Should the developer’s prototype prove to be worthy, AirConsole will fully fund the game’s development. It’ll then be added to the in-vehicle AirConsole platform. The lucky winners will also get a trip to BMW HQ in Munich, Germany, to see the fruits of their labor at work in a demo.

2023 BMW 7 Series interior at night

For now, BMW doesn’t make mention of when, where or how these games will be integrated into cars. Press materials show interior images of a 2023 BMW 7 Series with its infotainment system loaded with the AirConsole platform, but we imagine the games and compatibility will trickle down to less expensive models in BMW’s lineup. Gamers will use their smartphones as the controller, but we expect that third-party controllers will be compatible as well.

BMW hasn’t yet said under what circumstances the games will be playable. Tesla came under fire when it launched its service and allowed occupants to play games while the vehicle was moving. We don’t imagine BMW will make the same mistake.