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NZ Games Industry launches Business Startup Competition

The New Zealand Game Developers Association has launched New Zealand’s first and only startup programme for interactive games businesses – the KiwiGameStarter.  One promising games business will receive funding, software, marketing, legal and business mentoring support worth $25,000.

“The games industry has quickly become one of New Zealand’s largest creative sectors and a significant software exporter.  Unfortunately existing business startup or creative sector programmes don’t quite suit the nature of games businesses who must compete globally from day one in order to succeed,” said NZGDA chairperson Ben Kenobi.

“The KiwiGameStarter is the association’s, sponsors’ and established studios’ way to give back to provide early stage funding for one promising business. We have established a world-class games industry in New Zealand and we want to ensure its long-term success.”

Three finalist teams will pitch to an elite industry judging panel at the NZ Game Developers Conference at AUT University on 19 September, and must submit a playable prototype as part of their entry by Friday 5 September.

The winning team will receive:

  • $5,000,
  • $5,000 when they hit their next development milestone,
  • a one-year license for Autodesk Maya LT,
  • a commercial suite license for Unity 3D  Pro 5.0 including all add-on modules,
  • public relations advice from Pursuit Public Relations worth $2,000,
  • license agreement and legal advice from Hudson Gavin Martin lawyers worth $4,000,
  • mentoring from some of New Zealand’s most successful game developers.

The full competition Terms And Conditions are available here.

To enter, teams must submit a playable demo or prototype for any popular platform, and a four page pitch proposal by Friday 5 September.  Three finalists will be chosen to present to the judging panel during the NZGDC conference in Auckland on 18-19 September. The presentation will be 7 minutes, followed by 7 minutes of judges’ questions.

The judges will be looking for the game and team with the best chance to succeed commercially. However, we understand that indie and wildly original projects can be commercially successful and that prototypes can be either early or late stage.

Each Entrant must be an individual, or a group/company based in New Zealand and at least 18 years of age or older, and members of the NZGDA.  The game cannot be available for sale at the time of submission. However, it is able to have been provided as a reward as part of a crowd-funding or charitable campaign.

“Our intention is to give a boost to a team who are already developing a product and business plan.  Funding for a few extra months’ development and professional advice can be the difference between a good and a great business launch.”  Ben Kenobi says that judges will be looking for a game and team with the best chance to succeed commercially.

The worldwide video games market was worth USD$93 billion last year, according to Gartner Research, larger than the film or music entertainment industries.

The KiwiGameStarter winner will follow in the footsteps of several other successful entertainment software businesses. In 2012, New Zealand exported over $30m of digital game software with annual revenue growth of over 80%, according to an independent survey of NZGDA members.