Kiwi Game Starter 2019 – call for entries!
14 June 2019

Entries for the New Zealand Game Developers Association startup programme for interactive games businesses, the Kiwi Game Starter, are now open! Potential entrants should prepare their playable prototypes and business/marketing plans for submission via the submission form. The deadline for submissions is 5PM Monday, Aug 5th.

New bigger prizes!

Thanks to our kind sponsors, the NZ Game Developers Association, Tim Ponting and the NZ Film Commission, we have been able to increase the prize pool in 2019. First prize will be $25,000 plus support service, with a runner-up taking away $10,000 plus support.

What is Kiwi Game Starter?

Kiwi Game Starter is the NZGDA’s annual game development award and startup programme for interactive games businesses and startups. Each year there is a prize pool that includes mentorship support for the winning teams or individuals and cash sums to aid in the completion of projects. The competition aims to improve the commercial outcomes for NZ developers working towards completing their games.

The key areas the submissions will be judged upon include originality and technical / creative innovation. Commercial prospects will also be judged based on the information provided in the completed business and marketing planning templates provided. Games can be developed for any digital platform: mobile, browser, computer or console.

Change of pitch format

In the past, formal presentations have been delivered by finalists on camera in a Dragons’ Den-style context to a panel of judges behind desks. We feel this is unnecessarily intimidating. This year, given the detail in the application forms, judges will already have the information you would normally deliver in a presentation. You will have a chance to reinforce your main points if you wish, but the judges will ask questions of the finalists, team by team, in a more informal setting.

Finalists will need to meet the judges before the NZ Game Developers Conference in Wellington on Wednesday, September 4th in the late afternoon / early evening at a venue to be confirmed.


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

What are we looking for in entries?

  1. A playable demo that gives the judges an understanding of the core of the game. This does not need to be feature complete, but it should provide confidence in the concept and ability of the team to execute.
  2. A business and marketing plan based on the provided template that explains what the game is, a prospective timeline for the project, and where funding is going to be allocated.

Further prizes or funding may be announced while the competition is running, so get to work on your entries!

How to Enter

  1. Complete the KGS2019 Business and Marketing plan template, and the KGS 2018 Support Data template
  2. Enter by completing the submission form.

Terms and conditions apply and can be viewed here.

Please don’t be put off by the application forms! Anything you can’t understand you can query via email to