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Tesla shuts down ‘passenger play’ that allows users to play video games on center screen while driving

Tesla confirmed that it will shut down “passenger play,” which allows for playing video games on the center screen of its vehicles while driving. The change comes after NHTSA announced that it is opening an official probe into the situation.

Tesla has recently been putting more work toward video games inside its vehicles with the goal to “optimize fun” with its ownership experience.

Last year, we reported on Tesla building a new video game and user interface team in Austin, Texas. The goal is to build the platform, Tesla Arcade, and onboard as many video games as possible. Video games are primarily supposed to be used while parked and charging, but Tesla allows playing them while driving after a warning that the feature — called “passenger play” –should only be used by passengers.

Earlier this month, we reported on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirming that it is talking with Tesla about the “passenger play” situation. Yesterday, NTHSA confirmed that it had opened an official probe into the situation and planned to study how the feature is being used.

The probe put enough pressure on Tesla that the company decided to walk back the feature.

NHTSA confirmed Tesla’s decision today (via Associated Press):

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the company will send out a software update over the Internet so the function called “Passenger Play” will be locked and won’t work while vehicles are in motion.”

The update is reportedly already being pushed as part of Tesla’s holiday update.

NHTSA says that it will continue its probe despite Tesla making the change and will study how Tesla owners use the center display and its entertainment features.

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