The new BMW 5 Series can play your kids’ iPad games, but worse

In-car gaming is one of those things that manufacturers want to believe will really take off, even though we haven’t seen much evidence to support it. Mobile and “casual” games seem like a good option, but people already have access to them on their devices. Then there’s Tesla, putting the power of a gaming PC into their cars for all those times you want to spend two hours in a parking lot playing The Witcher III. None of that sounds very tempting, but what the heck: BMW wants in, and the 2024 Series 5 it will be able to support a light gaming point in partnership with a service called AirConsole.

air console it’s basically an app that hosts a bunch of games, many of them indie and multiplayer titles, that you can access with a subscription. That makes it just like Apple Arcade, except unlike Apple Arcade, AirConsole allows you to project the game onto a dedicated screen while players use their own devices as controllers. The idea with the new Series 5 is for gamers to watch the game on their car’s infotainment screen, but use a phone or tablet, linked via a QR code, to control their experience.

If you are a parent stuck in the car with your kids, and the car It does not movejust to be clear — you will be able to pass the time with a variety of “so-called casual games”, such as BMW mentions in its press release. One of those happens to be Overcookeda co-op staple:

With AirConsole, gamers can play so-called casual games. These 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 includes racing, sports, quiz and music quiz games, as well as simulation, strategy, jump and run and puzzle games. The 15 or so titles available to play right out of the box include “Go Kart Go,” “Golazo,” “Music Guess,” and “Overcooked.” The portfolio of available games will be continuously expanded.

A passenger selects a video game on the 2024 BMW 5 Series screen via AirConsole.

Image: bmw

bmw-blog they tested a demo of the feature themselves and found the performance to be satisfactory. Games are small enough to download from the cloud, then store and run on local hardware inside the car.

The thing is, the Series 5’s screen isn’t much bigger than an iPad’s. And since you or your child probably already have games on your tablet, what exactly is the benefit here? AirConsole offers limited, ad-supported access to some 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 reviewer in the google play store gave the service three stars, with a resounding endorsement to end all others: “The only thing is, there aren’t many good games.”

Jalopnik reached out to BMW to ask about pricing and, more specifically, whether the automaker will issue a separate charge on top of the AirConsole one. While the company isn’t offering full details yet, a representative said that AirConsole is “included in the 5-series ConnectedDrive Professional for one year, and can then be flexibly activated for a fee.” These seem like one of those take-or-leave luxuries on a road trip, but they’re not a heavy lift for BMW’s car hardware, and someone might subscribe to them. So here they are.