Did you know you can play Forza Horizon 5 and other premium video games in a 2022 Polestar 2? We’re also not talking about using a Steam Deck or a gaming laptop in the car – you can game directly on the integrated 11.0-inch infotainment screen.
Polestar 2’s infotainment system runs on Android Automotive OS, so it’s like an Android tablet. Earlier this year, a web browser called Vivaldi became available for download as an app for the Polestar 2 via the Google Play Store (it’s also the first browser for Android Automotive). As a full-featured Chromium-based browser, Vivaldi includes features like video streaming and controller support, allowing us to play Forza Horizon 5 in the car.
Here’s how to set it up
In order for it to work, you must first be on a cloud-based gaming service, such as Google’s Stadia or Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, through Game Pass Ultimate. Second, you need a decent internet connection. Our 2022 Polestar 2 test car came with built-in 4G LTE cellular data service, which worked well enough to keep the streaming service running.
Although on-screen touch input works for some games, a traditional handheld controller is much preferred. However, we found that the browser could only register a Stadia controller and would not recognize an Xbox controller. So this is an important point to keep in mind. All you have to do is connect the controller to the front USB port using a USB-C cable. There are two USB ports, but only the one with a white border supports data and power; the other is for charging only.
The gaming experience
We started by trying out Google’s Stadia to play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – just like in a Tesla. Due to the Polestar 2’s vertical screen orientation, the actual viewable play area isn’t as large as that of a Tesla Model S. However, gameplay is just as smooth, if not better, and less buggy. After connecting with the squad and fending off an AT-ST, we hyperjumped to Xbox Cloud Gaming. The Stadia controller didn’t appear to be supported at first, but by simply playing around with the thumbsticks, the browser was able to register the controller, and it then worked just like an Xbox controller.
We launched Forza Horizon 5 to get into Baja racing action in a Ford Bronco, and audio came through the Polestar’s speakers for a somewhat immersive experience. After winning a few races and exploring the game’s beautiful virtual Mexico, we moved on to another popular title. (Since cellular connection can be unstable at times, we don’t recommend getting into intense online multiplayer games.)
We launched back into space and played Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a highly entertaining single player action-adventure game with an award-winning narrative and story. This game has higher system requirements due to its graphics, but thanks to all rendering in the cloud (Xbox Series X based servers) we were able to play without a high-end GPU.
A full-featured web browser can unleash a lot of potential
You can play proper video games in a Polestar 2, but here’s the downside: you can only use the web browser when you’re parked, and to ensure safety, video streaming resumes with audio only when the drive begins. Nonetheless, it’s a more elegant and less polluting approach than strapping a gas generator to your car and running an extension cord through the rear window to power your Xbox Series S.
In reality, access to the game streaming service is an unintended benefit of the web browser, and we were surprised to find the Stadia Controller actually worked. But considering how many everyday tasks and entertainment solutions are accessible via the Internet, a full-featured web browser can certainly unlock many potential applications of in-car infotainment systems. We also tried some video streaming services and shopped from online retailers and everything worked. All of this may seem like a small step, but Polestar is certainly moving in the right direction to tackle a software-defined automotive future.
Looks good! More details?