The New Zealand game development industry is thriving, filled with developers of all sorts making the games they want to see in the world.
The industry’s growth has lead to growth of 13% last year to earn $88.9m in the year ending 31 March 2016*, though if we look over to Australia we’ll find that we’re still lagging behind in some places, especially in regards to funding or grants.
Up until now, the NZGDA’s Kiwi Game Starter has been the main fund for kiwi game developers to support their games financially with three winners so far: Phantasmal, Dynacorp and Goblins of Elderstone. Two of these creators, Joe Chang of Phantasmal and Rox Flame of Dynacorp, have gone on to support the game development community further. They have established the Arcade in Auckland and Level-Up in New Zealand’s Capital Wellington, two co-working spaces intended for game developers.
Unfortunately, game development is expensive, and the Kiwi Game Starter fund can only help so much. Each of the three winners have all needed to create crowdfunding campaigns after receiving the fund to continue work on their games. Phantasmal was backed successfully in 2014 and Goblins of Elderstone have just wrapped up their own successful campaign, while Dynacorp’s campaign is still going on Kickstarter.
If we want our game development industry to prosper even further and become a larger part of New Zealand’s mark on the world, we need to financially support the games being created in our country. A new fund just opened last week thanks to NZ Film for interactive development with strong story elements, which is a new avenue for people wanting to pursue their game making dreams.
This is a great step in the right direction, as each new avenue that helps more games come out of our little country could help accelerate not just the game industry’s, but our own country’s growth.