Kiwi Game Starter 2020 – call for entries!
16 October 2020

Entry forms for the New Zealand Game Developers Association startup programme for interactive games businesses, the Kiwi Game Starter, are now open!

Apologies for the delay, this has been down to a number of factors including setting up a new Mentorship Programme for this year and knock on effects from Covid-19.

Entrants should prepare their playable prototypes and business/marketing plans for submission via the submission form. The deadline for submissions is Monday 4 January 2021 – in the next calendar year, but to reduce the time for submissions would not give people adequate time to prepare their prototypes and submit their supporting paperwork.

Thanks to our kind sponsors PikPok, Internet NZ, Grinding Gear Games, Dinosaur Polo Club for funding the First Prize of $25,000 (NZD) along with NZGDA itself. The First Prize will also include a package of mentorship tailored to the winner’s needs.

Unfortunately, the lack of additional funds we have been able to access in previous years due to Covid-19 related cancellation fees means there is no monetary element of the Second Prize – but we are able to offer a tailored mentorship package for the runner-up.

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 that includes mentorship support for the winning teams or individuals and cash to aid in the completion of the winning project. 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. For avoidance of doubt, Board Games are specifically excluded from the competition.

Change of format

Given the fluid nature of the Covid-19 situation and the cancellation of NZGDC, the format of the competition will be different this year.

Submissions will take place as usual, with a panel of judges assessing the prototypes and accompanying documentation using the appropriate templates. However, once the finalists are identified, the final judging panel will meet with them remotely via Zoom conferencing. We will continue last year’s more informal style of finalist presentations to ensure no one feels intimidated, and of course the finalist judges will already be familiar with the games and submitted documents.

It is intended that the Finalist judging panel will meet the finalists via Zoom at some stage between 12th and 17th February 2021.


Each entrant must be an individual, or a group/company with at least one team lead 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 KGS2020 Business and Marketing plan template, and the KGS 2020 Support Data template (make your own copies and submit links to these copies in your entry form).
  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