Provincial Development Unit taps into growing gaming industry

Published: 2 December, 2020

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  • News and announcements
  • Otago

The Provincial Development Unit (PDU) supported New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence’s (CODE) first contestable funding round, will allocate close to $450,000 to Dunedin-based game developers to tap into the growing global gaming industry.

Logo of CODE, the New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence.

Earlier this year CODE put funding up for grabs to unleash the creative potential of Dunedin based game developers.

Five established and two start-up digital game developers have been funded as part of the Kickstart and Start Up CODE packages.

Two applicants received Start Up funding of up to $150,000. The fund was aimed at experienced game developers wanting to branch out to work on their own game ideas.

Five applicants recieved Kickstart funding of up to $40,000 for developers needing investment to produce gaming prototypes.

Fifty-six expressions of interest were received for Start Up and KickStart funding.  CODE has a total of $700,000 it can use for contestable funding.

CODE’s third funding pool, Scale Up, is being developed and will be up for grabs in 2021. The fund will largely target gaming studios which are already successful and are looking to scale up their business. The funding provided by CODE would need to be matched by the studio.

The names of the seven successful developers will be announced once contracts are finalised.

It is expected that up to five new gaming studios and potentially 12 new jobs could be created as the result of the funding.

The PDU invested $10 million of government funding in CODE in late 2019 to help create a $1 billion computer gaming industry across New Zealand from a base in Dunedin within 10 years. The initiative would be a catalyst for economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities. 

The global games market was worth over US$137.9 billion in 2018.

The long-term aim of CODE is to develop a pipeline for the next generation of gaming studios. CODE statistics show New Zealanders love gaming:

  • 67 per cent of New Zealanders play video games
  • 47 per cent of these players are female
  • 31 per cent of New Zealanders watch e-sports
  • 44 per cent of seniors aged 65 years and over play video games.