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Tesla App Store Could be a Game Changer

When it comes to cutting-edge automobile technology, it would be hard to name a company further ahead in the race than Tesla.  While Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to push for innovative improvements to speed and energy efficiency, his drive towards smart vehicles and eventual autonomy is enough to excite most tech geeks.  With a dedicated in-vehicle touch screen platform existing to interact with their cars’ systems, it seems only a matter of time before they take the next step: releasing a Tesla app store to the general public.

Tesla App Store Possible

It seems like Tesla has been bouncing around the idea of an app store for third-party apps since as early as 2012, but so far the concept remains simply a possibility.  Such an idea would become more sought after as the number of Tesla vehicles on the road grows.

“In order for it to be worthwhile for somebody to write an app, there has to be enough of an install base to warrant the effort,” Musk said during a recent interview with the podcast Ride The Lightning.  “Even if you are going to port something, it’s still got to be worth the effort. As our number of vehicles grow, it starts to potentially makes more sense to develop games and other applications for Tesla. We just need a lot of cars.”

Tesla has also bounced around the idea of providing app mirroring from a driver’s phone to the car’s center console, much like how Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work, but so far there seems to be some incompatibility between the systems which makes it a challenge. 

Software Development Kit Needed

In order to provide a platform for third-party apps to be sold, Tesla would first need to create and release a software development kit (SDK) for their operating system.  This allows developers to create the apps and then distribute them for use in Tesla vehicles, accessible through the car’s center touchscreens. 

So far, all that exists is an application programming interface (API) for very basic apps which Tesla developed for independent developers.  These developers use the API to create the limited apps and upgrades already available in Tesla vehicles. 

More Games Are Coming

Here comes a little video game nerdery.  Tesla has already released some video games that are available to play on their electric cars’ dashboard displays.  Atari titles such as Missile Command, Asteroids, Lunar Lander, Centipede, 2048, and Super Breakout have been available for several months now.  But it sounds like other games may soon becoming. 

Developers are already showing interest in ‘porting’ games for Tesla, where games designed for one platform are converted to a different format to play in another.  Elon Musk aims to make that possible, as he recently announced that Tesla wants to make its vehicles compatible with games created in Unity and Unreal Engine. 

Studio MDHR is working on a version of Cuphead, a popular indie shoot ’em up, especially for Tesla vehicles.  There is also talk of ports of Fortnite and Rocket League on the horizon, but so far nothing definitive has been announced.  But game size and optimization are low hurdles that will have to be overcome before a lot of popular games can be released.

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