AirConsole's gaming runs on cars' entertainment systems


Swiss start-up AirConsole has secured a major new strategic investment from India’s KPIT Technologies as it looks to scale up its growing in-car gaming business. The Swiss company, which already has an extensive deal to supply BMW, will now look to reach similar agreements with other major auto manufacturers.

Forbes first met AirConsole in October 2022, revealing that the business had signed an alliance with BMW. Since then, that partnership has expanded, with BMW committing to installing AirConsole technology across its entire range in its Europe-made cars, as well as in models of the Mini, which it also owns.

However, BMW’s exclusive arrangement with AirConsole is due to expire shortly. “It naturally wanted to be the first, but BMW understands that exclusivity is not something that can be maintained for very long,” says Anthony Cliquot, CEO of N-Dream, AirConsole’s parent company.

KPIT’s investment in the business could therefore come at a crucial moment for the business. The Indian company is well-known for its technology-based deals with partnerships worldwide, including six major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the auto industry. As well as providing AirConsole with funding to secure content rights, Cliquot also expects the deal to help it secure new OEM customers.

Neither party is disclosing the value of the investment, though sources close to KPIT have suggested it is paying €3 million for a minority stake in the company. “This gives us a way to scale with a partner,” says Cliquot.


AirConsole’s in-car gaming product is based on technology it originally developed to help gamers use their smartphones as games controllers. In cars that have its technology installed, players can use their phones to play games on the vehicle’s screens. The whole vehicle infotainment system – including sound and lighting features – are used to deliver a more immersive experience.

Crucially, gaming is only available when the car is not being driven, even for passengers, in order to ensure safety. But AirConsole believes this time will account for an increasingly large proportion of the time that drivers spend in their vehicles, particularly as more people switch to electric vehicles where charging takes longer than filling the tank with petrol.

In future, moreover, Cliquot envisages gaming becoming available when vehicles are on the move – initially to passengers, but even to whoever is behind the wheel when driverless vehicles become more common. “It will actually be safer to have those in charge of driverless vehicles playing games through the car, which can then alert them to any problems or that they need to take over, rather than playing separately on their mobile phones,” Cliquot argues.

It’s a point picked up by Andrin von Rechenberg, the founder of N-Dream. “With autonomous driving, the way we commute will change forever,” he says. “Together with KPIT we will spearhead in-car gaming, in a world where passengers will be able to spend much more time on entertainment.”

AirConsole sees the quality of the games on offer to vehicle owners as just as crucial as being able to provide the gaming technology itself. Earlier this year it announced a deal with Sony for the exclusive rights to produce an in-car version of the popular television gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. Cliquot now hopes KPIT’s investment will enable him to unveil similar deals in the months ahead.

Pushpahas Joshi, European vice president and executive board member at KPIT, shares that vision. “Casual gaming is a fast-growing use case in a modern cabin," he says. "AirConsole is one of the industry’s early movers in the In-vehicle game aggregation space. Together, we will help OEM clients create monetisable digital services for existing vehicles and new launches."

The company is also due to make its debut at next month’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. BMW has booked space to showcase the technology to the public, while Cliquot will use the event to build relationships with new auto manufacturers. In the meantime, his next challenge is to adapt AirConsole's gaming experience for the Mini, which features a circular screen. "It's going to be fun making games work on a round screen," Cliquot says.