Scale-Up grant enables expansion for Auckland’s Mad Carnival Entertainment
22 March 2022

This week CODE – New Zealand’s Centre of Digital Excellence – announced a $250,000 Scale-Up grant has been awarded to Mad Carnival Entertainment, a new Dunedin-based satellite studio from the founders of Auckland’s Method and M Theory.

Although still largely under wraps given market sensitivity, Director and Co-Founder Samantha Ramlu has hinted at their first project; a deal with a large international social platform on the potential to develop games for their platform.

There is a scheduled release date in the third quarter this year.

Sam saw the growth potential for her business in CODE’s regional funding, coupled with Dunedin’s vocational training pathways and collaborative local game development eco-system, enabling their future employment needs to be met locally.

The Mad Carnival team currently have three staff in the Ōtepoti office — one who moved down from Tāmaki Makarau to help set up the studio, and two recently-hired graduates — with the aim to have six or more staff by the end of 2022.

Mad Carnival will focus on “games for everyone” as Sam explained:

“We created Mad Carnival over 10 years ago and have only now been able to realise the dream we had – to create a studio focussed on creating games for everyone. With a 7 year old I’m conscious of the content he consumes and am on a mission to add more non-violent games to the ecosystem. Games that can be enjoyed by the whole family and promotes togetherness and joyful entertainment.”

Sam said she would love to see more diversity in the sector workforce, too:

“For women, for people of colour, for people who might not see this as a traditional career path and part of that is forging the way on what’s possible in this sector,” she said.

Media coverage remarked:

There is still time to lobby for this via response to the proposed funding rollout idea in MBIE’s “Digital Industries Transformation Platform”, with the deadline approaching (31 March).

See our website resource for guidance on adding your voice to the industry response.