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CES 2024: Mario Kart in a BMW? Almost

Bluetooth controllers and kart racing games are the next in-car gaming recipe for BMW, writes JASON BANNIER.

BMW has unveiled a new in-car gaming system that allows Bluetooth controllers to be used to play a game on the vehicle’s infotainment system. At the CES 2024 expo in Las Vegas this week, it showcased its in-car gaming with Buggy Racing 2, a mayhem-filled kart-racer with a similar style to Nintendo’s iconic Mario Kart game.

Along with the option to connect one’s smartphone as a controller via the AirConsole app, one now has the alternative to connect Bluetooth controllers, like a PlayStation controller, to a game in the car. BMW says: “Common, Bluetooth-enabled gaming controllers can be connected to the infotainment system in just a few steps.”

The infotainment system allows for multiplayer gaming and, in Beach Buggy Racing 2’s case, players can race against each other in a split-screen experience.

In conjunction with the optional BMW Digital Premium offer, owners of BMWs with Operating System (OS) 9 have access to a BMW ConnectedDrive Store extended with third-party apps, which feature a “growing range of apps for music, news, and gaming”.

However, users must subscribe after the 90-day free trial of BMW Digital Premium. The subscription is bundled with extended navigation functions, and customisation options, for example through My Modes.

Other BMW announcements at CES 2024 include:

  • Vehicles integrated with the TiVo OS offer a range of video content, including live channels and on-demand media libraries covering news, sports, children’s entertainment, movies, and TV series.
  • BMW’s integration of the XREAL Air 2 Augmented Reality glasses aim to enrich the driving experience by embedding navigation, hazard information, points of interest, and entertainment content into the real environment.
  • A collaboration with Amazon showcased an Intelligent Personal Assistant powered by Amazon’s Alexa Large Language Model, aiming to make the voice assistant the ultimate vehicle expert, providing human-like interactions and controls.
  • In a partnership with Valeo, next-generation automated Level 4 parking solutions was showcased. This includes remote-controlled valet parking, which offers precise control in challenging environments where fully autonomous systems may face difficulties.

* CES, formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, is one of the most influential tech events in the world, serving as the launchpad for several thousand new products every January in Las Vegas. It is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), and features every aspect of the tech sector.

* Jason Bannier is a data analyst at World Wide Worx and writer for Follow him on Twitter and Threads at @jas2bann.

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