These guys don't make the best games, so it's not a great look for the German carmaker.
Late last year, Tesla caught a fair bit of flak for bringing video games into its cars.
Now, BMW thinks it can do the same, only better. BMW has announced a partnership with AirConsole to bring gaming into cars equipped with the BMW Curved Display. The Bavarians say you'll be able to do so sometime next year.
For reference, this is the display used in all vehicles equipped with the new iDrive8 infotainment system that debuted in the BMW iX and i4. We also used it in the BMW X7 LCI we drove a while back. However, there's a bit of a problem. These aren't the caliber of games we'd expect from a company selling high-end luxury cars to clients worldwide, steeped in motorsports history.
Instead, this feels more like a poor first effort.
The games will be run directly via the BMW's infotainment system and delivered instantly over the air. The games are played via streaming, meaning they won't be stored locally in the car's memory.
BMW says that you won't need anything more than a smartphone, which is how you'll control the games. To do so, you'll just scan the QR code that is displayed on the screen before starting a game. We imagine there'll be a little bit of a learning curve for people who are used to a physical controller with buttons and joysticks. However, the controller isn't the only hangup we have.
Head over to AirConsole's website, and you're not greeted with the caliber of game many would expect. These feel more like the in-browser games of the early 2000s- small side-shows you'd flash on a dealership floor to entertain the children of the people who will potentially buy your $80,000 car.
These games aren't the level of quality that we'd expect in a BMW.
You can play The Witcher 3 in a Tesla. That was a AAA game not too long ago. Competition is far stiffer in this area than we think BMW anticipated. Even if the games are scaled back, why not head to a more traditional marketplace? The Google Play app store has many games consumers love. From Angry Birds to the original Grand Theft Autos.
BMW says it chose AirConsole as part of its BMW Startup Garage program, where BMW takes startups, funds them, and puts them out in the world. So, BMW does have a vested interest in AirConsole. That's likely why, and we're hoping that as the idea of gaming in your BMW progresses, so does the quality.