Dunedin’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) has announced a new funding programme for Dunedin’s game development
community, which is worth $700,000. The money for the funding is being drawn entirely from the Government’s Provincial
Dunedin was confirmed as New Zealand’s new Centre of Digital Excellence in October last year and will act as a national
hub to support the development of a $1 billion video game industry over the next ten years. It was backed by $10 million
from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, from which the funding is being drawn.
Dunedin City Mayor, Aaron Hawkins, says he is delighted with the scope and timing of the funding programme, which opens
on Tuesday 23 June for expressions of interest.
“This is a real boost for Dunedin at a time when we are experiencing, like the rest of the country, some very real
economic pain and challenges. CODE’s funding programme provides some tangible opportunities to develop the kind of low
weight, high value exports that can support a sustainable economic recovery”.
CODE Working Group and New Zealand Game Developers Association Board member, Tim Ponting, says current economic
conditions created through the COVID-19 crisis brought the timing for developing and launching the funding programme
“Grants were included in CODE’s business case and scheduled to follow CODE’s establishment period, which is currently in
its final stages. However, it made sense to bring them forward given the current economic challenges and the team have
worked really hard over the last few weeks to do this. The funding programme is a fantastic opportunity to support the
local industry and help stimulate the local economy”.
Mr Ponting said game development, as a ‘weightless export’ and rapidly growing industry both nationally and globally,
provided Dunedin with an excellent opportunity to grow existing studios, develop new ones and provide employment to
people from a broad range of backgrounds - from coders, artists and designers, to business analysts and marketers.
“This is a really exciting industry to be part of and it’s still growing, in spite of the current challenges. It also
provides an opportunity for Dunedin to build on its key strengths around education and health - including the hospital
rebuild - through the development of serious games. It’s worth noting that some of the technology used to support
alternative ways of working during COVID-19 - such as messaging app Slack - had their origins in the game development
He said there are three funding types available as part of the programme - KickStart, Start Up and Scale Up.
“The KickStart and Start Up funds open now, while the Scale Up fund will become available later in the year. I strongly
encourage anyone who thinks they might be eligible for one of these funds to go to the CODE website and check out the
criteria and to get in touch with us if they need further information or support to make an application. We’re here to
help every step of the way.”
The funding programme is part of the overall effort to build an ecosystem for game development, with strong local roots
growing from schools and tertiary networks, and nurtured with funding and wrap-around mentorship, for new, young or
growing companies. Further funding programmes will be available in subsequent years, Mr Ponting said.
The first stage of the application process requires the submission of an expression of interest by 14 July. For more
information on the different funds and application process can be found on CODE’s website: www.dunedinnz.com/CODE