Did you know you can play Forza Horizon 5 and other high-end video games in a 2022 Polestar 2? We’re not talking about using a Steam Deck or gaming laptop in the car either – you can game right on the built-in 11.0-inch infotainment screen.
The 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 is also the first browser for Android Automotive). Being a full-featured Chromium-based browser, Vivaldi includes features like video streaming and controller support, and that’s how we can play Forza Horizon 5 in the car.
How to set it up
For this to work, you must first be on a cloud-based gaming service such as Google’s Stadia or Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming via 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, and it worked well enough to keep the streaming service going.
Although on-screen touch input works with some games, a traditional handheld controller is much preferred. However, we discovered that the browser could only register a Stadia controller and did not recognize an Xbox controller, so this is an important point to note. All you have to do is connect the controller via a USB-C cable to the front USB port. There are two USB ports but only the one with a white outline supports data and power; the other is only for charging.
The gaming experience
We started by trying Google’s Stadia to play Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, like we did in a Tesla. Due to the Polestar 2’s vertical screen orientation, the actually visible gaming area isn’t as large as in a Tesla Model S. However, gameplay is just as smooth, if not better, and less buggy. After connecting with the force and fighting an AT-ST, we jumped on Xbox Cloud Gaming. At first the Stadia controller seemed to be unsupported, but just play with the controllers to allow the browser to register the controller, and then it worked as an Xbox controller.
We fired up Forza Horizon 5 to dive into some Baja racing action in a Ford Bronco, and audio came through the Polestar’s speakers to provide a somewhat immersive experience. Once we won a few races and explored the game’s beautiful virtual Mexico, we switched to try another popular title. (Because cellular connectivity can be choppy at times, we don’t recommend engaging in intense online multiplayer games.)
We went back to space and played Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a hugely fun single-player action-adventure game with an award-winning narrative and story. This game demands more from the system due to its graphics, but thanks to all the rendering that happens in the cloud (Xbox Series X-based servers), we were able to play without a high-end GPU.
A full web browser can unlock a lot of potential
You can play proper video games in a Polestar 2, but here’s the thing: you can only use the web browser when you’re parked, and for safety, video streaming will only continue with audio if driving begins. Still, it’s a neater, cleaner approach than strapping a gas-powered generator to the car and running an extension cord through the rear window to power your Xbox Series S.
In reality, being able to access the game streaming service is an unintended advantage of the web browser, and we were surprised that the Stadia controller actually worked. But with so many everyday tasks and entertainment solutions accessible through 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 made a few purchases from online retailers, and everything worked. All of this may seem like a small step, but Polestar is definitely taking a step in the right direction to embrace a software-defined automotive future.
This seems good! More details?