Dunedin’s game makers welcome $700,000 funding

The grants are part of a $10million Provincial Growth Fund given to Dunedin to become the country...
The grants are part of a $10million Provincial Growth Fund given to Dunedin to become the country’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE). Photo: Getty Images
Gaming developers in Dunedin are lauding the release of $700,000 worth of grants for game creators in the city.

The grants are part of a $10million Provincial Growth Fund given to Dunedin to become the country’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE).

Dunedin was confirmed in the position in October last year and it is expected to act as a national hub to support the $1billion gaming industry across the country for the next decade.

The $700,000 injection is open to expressions of interest and Game Developers Association board member Tim Ponting said the grants were brought forward in response to Covid-19 and the new economic climate.

"The funding programme is a fantastic opportunity to support the local industry and help stimulate the local economy," he said.

Tim Ponting
Tim Ponting

Game development gave an excellent opportunity to grow studios, develop new ones and provide employment to people, "from coders, artists and designers, to business analysts and marketers".

The funding would help Dunedin to continue to build on its strengths of health and education — including the hospital rebuild — to continue developing serious games, he said.

"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 industry."

Runaway Play managing director Zoe Hobson said any funding towards more game creating was "really positive".

"It’s also obviously really positive people who apply need to be in Dunedin.

"That will really help foster talent here and give talent here opportunities to experiment and try to upskill and explore new opportunities," she said.

Runaway Play would be more likely to apply for "Scale Up" funding rather than the "KickStart" and "Start Up" funds which were a part of the grants that opened up yesterday. "Scale Up" will become available later in the year.

"Right from the start when CODE [was] first hosting workshops for input and consideration, one of the things I really stood by was funding for projects so people could develop experience and could have the opportunity to make more games," Ms Hobson said.

"KickStart" funding was for individuals and small teams and offered between $10,000 and $40,000 per applicant.

"Start Up" funding was for experienced developers looking to start their own company and they could get between $50,000 and $150,000.

Mr Ponting encouraged anyone who might be eligible for the funds to go to the CODE website www.dunedinnz.com/CODE to apply before July 14.



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