Audiokinetic Expands to Hilversum, the Netherlands: A Conversation with CEO Martin H. Klein

During the Dutch Media Week, we had the privilege of speaking with Martin H. Klein, the CEO of Audiokinetic, a global leader in interactive audio technology for the gaming and media industry. Klein shared insights into his passion for audio, the founding of Audiokinetic, and the company's recent expansion to Hilversum, Netherlands.

7 March 2024 4 minutes

Mr Klein’s journey in the world of audio began at a very young age, with a fascination for music that started when he was just four years old. By age five, he was already dismantling sound systems out of sheer curiosity. By the age of 12, he was writing music and leading a band. Later in life, Klein transitioned from being on stage to focusing on the production side of music, becoming a sound engineer and studio enthusiast, working closely with artists and labels.

Picture below is the Audiokinetic European Team. Mr. Klein is the person in the front, holding the skyline of the Utrecht region. 

Founding of Audiokinetic

The founding of Audiokinetic had its roots in a pivotal moment when Klein realized that the record industry was not prepared for the rapid changes taking place in audio technology. Most particular, he saw how important audio could be for immersive gaming. Klein: “I have been evangelising the audio part of gaming. It was not the problem of a company, but the need of an entire industry.” Despite his deep love for the industry, he knew it was time to move in a different direction. This led to him taking charge of the audio department and working to address the lack of technological advancements in audio for the emerging video game industry.

Audiokinetic’s mission was clear – stressing the importance of audio in gaming, believing that audio should be an integral part of the overall design. Klein: “While the film industry had embraced cutting-edge audio, the video game industry lagged behind.” The company sought to bridge this gap, catering to both creative audio professionals and software developers.

Audiokinetic: Pioneering Interactive Audio Technology

Audiokinetic, headquartered in Montréal, Canada, has become a global leader in interactive audio technology for the gaming and media industry. The company is known for its flagship audio middleware, Wwise, which has set the gold standard within the gaming and interactive media sector. Over the years, Audiokinetic has diversified its portfolio, expanding into sectors like Location-Based Entertainment (LBE) and the Automotive industry.

Europe, with its thriving technology and gaming scene, was a natural choice for Audiokinetic’s expansion. It’s a region home to the world’s largest OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and offers a dynamic environment for innovation and collaboration, especially in the automotive industry.

Audiokinetic’s innovative middleware solutions, including Wwise® and SoundSeed®, have made them a trusted partner to the world’s largest interactive media developers and OEMs. What sets Audiokinetic apart is its strong connection with the community – a vital aspect of their success. Klein: “We even have developed learning materials, that’s part of our role: to transmit knowledge. We make sure teachers all over the world can teach Wwise.” They actively seek feedback and collaboration from industry experts, making their products a result of collective wisdom rather than just internal insights.

The Possible Role of Audio in Health

One intriguing aspect of Audiokinetic’s mission is exploring the role of audio in health. Klein explained that the human body is fundamentally based on vibrations and frequencies. He believes that understanding and utilizing these frequencies could have profound implications for health and well-being. Klein: “How profound would it be to treat people with frequencies?” By harnessing frequencies, Audiokinetic aims to contribute to the evolving field of health and wellness. Utrecht, as the heart of health might be just to place to explore this field.

Expanding the Team in Europe

Audiokinetic is actively recruiting talent in Europe, including engineers, business development professionals, and support personnel. Their decision to open a subsidiary in Hilversum, the Netherlands, aligns with their goal of being closer to their European community of users, clients, and partners. Hilversum’s strategic location within the Netherlands and its proximity to major European media hubs like London and Paris make it an ideal base for Audiokinetic’s European operations.

The Netherlands, specifically, offers a dynamic and electrified environment, attracting top-tier talent in technology, engineering, and digital innovation. Furthermore, the Utrecht Region’s prominence in the automotive industry played a crucial role in Audiokinetic’s decision to establish a presence there. Klein: “Our people are extremely important for us. This region is very green and lush, the quality of life is very high and Hilversum – although the biggest media companies are all here – is very laid back. It’s a very human city.”

This region is very green and lush, the quality of life is very high and Hilversum – although the biggest media companies are all here – is very laid back. It’s a very human city.”

Supporting the Dutch Game & Media Ecosystem

Klein recognizes the rapid growth of the gaming and media industry in the Netherlands, with over 280 studios and a vibrant indie game development community. Audiokinetic aims to provide these studios with the tools and support needed to compete with larger players in the industry. They believe in empowering the indie game developers by offering them the same high-quality tools at a more accessible cost.

Klein emphasized the significance of audio in media, particularly in the context of location-based entertainment and emerging technologies like AR and VR. He highlighted that audio is a crucial element of any immersive experience, stating that without audio, VR or AR is incomplete.

Collaboration with Dutch Entities

To make their expansion to the Netherlands a reality, Audiokinetic received support from various organizations, including ROM Utrecht Region and the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). These entities played a pivotal role in helping Audiokinetic navigate the Dutch landscape and connect with local partners, talent, and resources.

In conclusion, Audiokinetic’s expansion to Hilversum marks an exciting chapter in their journey to revolutionize the world of interactive audio technology. With their innovative solutions, strong community connections, and a deep passion for audio, they are poised to make a significant impact not only in the gaming and media industry, but maybe even in the realm of health and wellness through audio. As they continue to grow and collaborate with the Dutch ecosystem, Audiokinetic is set to contribute to the thriving digital society of the Netherlands and Europe as a whole. For more information, take a look at their website.

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