(Dunedin, 14 July 2022) The government-backed New Zealand Center for Digital Excellence (CODE) today celebrates its incorporation, CODE Limited. This follows a two-year establishment phase that has already delivered significant results for Dunedin’s video game development industry and paved the way for the domestic sector to reap the benefits.
Since late 2019, Dunedin City Council’s Dunedin Enterprise has been leading CODE together with the CODE Task Force, MBIE, Kānoa-RDU and industry partners, playing a key role during the initial establishment phase. Enterprise Dunedin will continue to support CODE Limited through a variety of activities, as the city’s main economic development driver and main government liaison.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said Dunedin’s thriving video game ecosystem is proof that strategic government investment, coupled with local expertise and leadership, is a winning formula.
“In just a few years, CODE has achieved results that would have taken many other organizations decades, and we are proud of the role Enterprise Dunedin has played in that success so far.
“Dunedin already has 21 new independent video game studios thanks to the support of CODE and is now at the forefront of training developers in New Zealand.
“It’s only a matter of time before we are seen globally as an industrial powerhouse in the south,” says Hawkins.
Coinciding with the company announcement was the latest round of funding grants, which are proving to be CODE’s master hand in fostering new studios and propelling established companies into the next phase of growth.
Dunedin-based Balancing Monkey Games has received a $250,000 Scale Up grant for its latest game project, which is expected to be announced soon. The seven-strong company has already had success with its game Before We Leave, which is now on internationally recognized platforms including Playstation and Steam.
CODE President Murray Strong believes the purpose-built funding model allows for a laser-centric approach as it focuses solely on game development, unlike those tailored from the wider screen industry.
“We help people succeed not only in creating their own viable world-class games here in Dunedin, but also provide a platform for skill development that benefits the entire ecosystem.
“A number of our former and current grant recipients are currently in talks with publishers and we expect to see some of the first Dunedin products released by the end of the year.”
In addition to the Scale Up grant, an additional $557,922 was awarded in this fourth round of funding, as shown in the summary below.
Kickstart grant recipients include:
COAF Research received $28,949 for Chronomoths
Tacturnal Games received $40,000 for Diet of Dinos
Niberspace Ltd received $39,999 for Clumsy Ted
Seed grant recipients include:
Mune Studio received $147,974 for Under the Tavern
Deep Field Games received $150,000 for Abiotic Factor
Hyporeal Ltd. $150000 Blackheart
CODE’s new board will be led by Murray Strong as independent chair. Mr. Strong is joined by five other representatives of shareholder organizations, including Adam La Hood representing DCC, Zoe Hobson on behalf of Dunedin Game Developers Association Incorporated, Richard Blaikie for the University of Otago, Jason Tibble acting for Otago Polytechnic and Katharina Ruckstuhl portraying Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki.
CODE is the New Zealand Center for Digital Excellence – a Dunedin-based center designed to advance the expansion of New Zealand’s growing video game development industry. The creation of CODE in Dunedin was a pledge in the Labor Party’s election manifesto. CODE is funded by Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit of the Government.
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