New Zealand investing over $2 million a year in game development

New Zealand games will get a major boost with new government funding on the way.
Before We Leave New Zealand game studio

New Zealand / Aotearoan game developers will soon benefit from a significant boost to industry funding over the next five years, with the New Zealand Government announcing an investment of NZD $2.25 million per year, until 2027, into the country’s Centre of Digital Excellent CODE programme – designed to progress the expansion of the local games industry with training, pathways, and opportunities.

According to David Clark, the New Zealand Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, the government has already allocated NZD $1 million this financial year to expand the programme to other geographic centres; the current base of operations for CODE is in Dunedin, located in the country’s south island.

‘The Government has been working closely with the New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA) on how we can provide more support for this sector,’ Clark said. ‘The expansion of CODE is something they have asked for, and we’ve listened.’

He continued, ‘However, I will continue to work with industry and my colleagues around what more we can do to nurture our local talent and keep them on home soil.’

New Zealand has recently seen its game developers move to nearby game development hubs like Australia in order to take advantage of sector incentives, according to a recent NZGDA survey.

Read: Australia’s game development incentives are tempting New Zealand studios

Successful New Zealand studios like A44 have also begun opening offices in Australia.

According to the press release, CODE was established in 2019. The new funding will aid the establishment of more regional hub, as well as provide new grants and skill development programs.

In a provided statement, Minister for Economic and Region Development Stuart Nash said that, ‘We’ve invested in community-led projects across the country to ensure our regions can thrive, grow, and boost local economies.’

‘We also want to drive innovation and create opportunities in our regions. Expanding CODE across New Zealand should pique the interest of burgeoning game developers, and provide them with a foot in the door.’

Game developers in Aotearoa New Zealand already make some remarkable games that have gone on to earn global acclaim, like Before We Leave and Mini Motorways. We look forward to seeing the sector bloom over the next few years.

Edmond was the founding managing editor of GamesHub. He was also previously at GameSpot for 13 years, where he was the Australian Editor and an award-winning video producer. You can follow him @EdmondTran