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Screen CanterburyNZ

Game Development Opportunities For Ōtautahi Christchurch

A recent hui of game developers and screen representatives in Ōtautahi Christchurch discussed how to secure a bigger share of New Zealand’s $340 million per year game development industry.

Christchurch Game Dev Hui

More than 60 participants gathered at the University of Canterbury (UC) on 24 March to discuss opportunities, key actions and challenges in growing the gaming sector in Canterbury. They included national and local gaming industry members, the New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA), creative economy education providers and wider city stakeholders, including Screen CanterburyNZ Manager Bree Loverich.

Screen Bree Loverich

The screen sector is so much more than just feature films. It includes all things that end up on your screen – including games,” 

Bree Loverich - Screen CanterburyNZ Manager

“The screen sector is so much more than just feature films. It includes all things that end up on your screen – including games,” Loverich said.

“Screen CanterburyNZ and Christchurch’s Innovation and Business Growth team coordinated with the Christchurch Game Developers Association, local education providers and the NZGDA to deliver this hui, which was sponsored by UC. To have all these people in the same room, talking about shared goals, was a huge win for the city.”

The focus of the hui was entertainment games, but also present were representatives of eSports and applied games. Speakers included Dallas Seymour from Kaiwhiri Whakapakari Pūkenga, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Tim Ponting from CODE Dunedin, James Everett from NZXR, Keith Longden from the University of Canterbury and Chelsea Rapp, Chairperson of the NZGDA.

 

Chelsea App

The great thing about Christchurch is that it already has many of the pieces required to build a successful game development ecosystem,”

Chelsea Rapp - Chairperson of the NZGDA

“The great thing about Christchurch is that it already has many of the pieces required to build a successful game development ecosystem,” Rapp said.

“It has a number of highly respected tertiary education programmes, and it’s home to two of the top 10 game studies in New Zealand, and several independent studios.”

Rapp said New Zealand had the 5th highest rate of job growth in real-time 3D graphics globally, and both major studios in Christchurch were actively hiring. The industry was planning to add more than 150 jobs across the country this year.

The city’s ability to increase market share depends largely on supporting emerging games and studios, from setting up an innovation fund providing low-cost loans or grants, to establishing an incubator or accelerator program,” 

Chelsea Rapp - Chairperson of the NZGDA

“The city’s ability to increase market share depends largely on supporting emerging games and studios, from setting up an innovation fund providing low-cost loans or grants, to establishing an incubator or accelerator program,” she said.

“The ultimate goal is to improve access to resources so ideas can stop being just ‘an idea’ and start being a business opportunity. By filling some of the gaps in the ecosystem, graduates can stay here rather than needing to move to find work with an established game studio or start their own businesses.”

“If Christchurch can find a way to support businesses of all sizes - from the indie startups to the more established studios like CerebralFix and Digital Confectioners - then the job demand in game development will grow substantially.”

Get in Touch

Bree Loverich
Screen CanterburyNZ Manager
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