The government-backed New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) today celebrates becoming an incorporated company, CODE Limited. This follows a two-year establishment phase which has already netted significant results for the Dunedin video game development industry and paved the way for the national sector to reap the benefits.
Since late 2019, the Dunedin City Council’s Enterprise Dunedin has led CODE in collaboration with the CODE Working Group, 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 activity, as a core driver of the city’s economic development and primary government liaison.
Mayor of Dunedin Aaron Hawkins says Dunedin’s flourishing video game ecosystem is proof that strategic government investment, paired with local expertise and leadership, is a winning formula.
“In a few short years CODE has achieved outcomes that would take many other organisations decades, and we’re proud of the role Enterprise Dunedin has played in this success so far.
“Dunedin already has 21 new independent video game studios as a direct result of CODE support and is now at the forefront of developer education in New Zealand.
“It’s only a matter of time before we’re globally regarded as an industry powerhouse in the south,” says Mr. Hawkins.
Coinciding with the company announcement was the latest round of funding grants, which are proving to be CODE’s ace hand in fostering new studios and propelling established companies to the next phase of growth.
Dunedin-based Balancing Monkey Games received a $250,000 Scale Up grant towards their latest game project, which is expected to be announced soon. The seven strong company has already had success with their Before We Leave game, that is now on international recognised platforms including Playstation and Steam.
CODE Chair Murray Strong believes the purpose-built funding model enables a laser focused approach as it only concentrates on game development, unlike those adapted from the wider screen industry.
“We’re backing people to succeed not only in creating their own viable, world class games here in Dunedin, but also providing a platform for skills development which benefits the whole ecosystem.
“A number of our former and current grant recipients are now in talks with publishers and we expect to see some of the first Dunedin product being released by the end of the year.”
In addition to the Scale Up grant, a further $557,922 was awarded in this fourth funding round, as outlined 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
Start Up 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
The new CODE Board of Directors will be headed up by Murray Strong as independent Chair. Mr. Strong is joined by five other shareholder organisation representatives, including Adam La Hood as the DCC representative, 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 representing Kati Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki.