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CODE ends successful year on a high

The government-backed New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence

(CODE) is ending the year on a high note by funding five new Dunedin game development studios in the round of grants. Today CODE announced four studios will receive a share of close to $145,000 in Kickstart grants, while one studio has received a $150,000 Startup grant.

Image: Claiming Mars concept art by Pacen Life Games

Tim Ponting, CODE Chief Executive, says, “CODE’s range of funding grants have proven to be the company’s trump card, resulting in the creation of 19 local studios and jobs as well as propelling already established companies into the next stage of growth.

“Dunedin’s video game development industry has been going from strength to strength and it’s fantastic to end the year supporting studios produce innovative new products.”

The outcome of previous CODE grants will start to come to fruition in 2023, with multiple studios planning to launch games in the international market in the new year.

2022 has been a year of milestones for CODE and its partners across the city, with initiatives such as the game development courses at the Otago Polytechnic attracting high interest and a cohort of Dunedin studios exhibiting at Melbourne International Games Week in October.

CODE’s successes have not gone unnoticed, and its proven operating model has resulted in further investment by the Government.

Last week it was announced that the thriving video game ecosystem in Dunedin, has prompted Government to expand the remit of CODE by investing $2.25 million a year until 2027 to establish other regional hubs around the country.

This follows rapid growth in the sector with the latest data from the New Zealand Game Developers Association showing the total revenue for the industry is $407 million, compared to $276 million a year ago.

Under CODE, the Otago video game sector has grown to account for more than a quarter (26%) of the country’s studios.

Kickstart grant recipients include:

  • One Sunny Night received $40,000 for Spacecrack

  • Four Fox Interactive received $25,000 for Colour Crawler

  • Pacen Life Games received $40,000 for Claiming Mars

  • MC Gerard Lituanas received $39,280 for Shyfters

Start Up grant recipients include:

  • Cheese Berries received $150,000 for Picky Meowy


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