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New Zealand Establishes Centre of Digital Excellence

New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence

New Zealand’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing NZ$ 10 million to establish Otago as the centre of the country’s creative digital industry over the next ten years.

According to a recent press release, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones shared that the initiative will bring the country closer to the vision of a NZ$ 1 billion computer gaming industry.

This will catalyse new economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities.

The digital economy is the fastest growing segment of the global economy.

The establishment of the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) will be a catalyst for a stronger digital economy within New Zealand.

New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence

  • It is a Dunedin-based hub designed to progress the expansion of New Zealand’s growing video game development industry.
  • It is being set up to deliver the following:
  1. New industry skills development and training pathways
  2. National and global partnerships that grow digital capacity and knowledge
  3. Contestable funding for product development
  4. Higher growth in games sector employment
  5. More diversity in the sector, particularly for youth, Māori, and women
  6. Growth in the number of gaming businesses and experts in Dunedin
  • A scoping exercise was funded to look into the establishment of CODE earlier this year. As part of that work, the centre will be focusing on ‘Games for Health’.
  • This will link in with the city’s education and digital health technology sector, which will also include the NZ$ 1.4 billion Dunedin Hospital rebuild.
  • The CODE will invest in career pathways to the gaming industry, help develop digital skills, grow digital capability, support innovation through contestable funds, and attract digital businesses to Dunedin.
  • Over a ten-year period, it is estimated that CODE will create between 30 and 50 new small video game studios. Each of this will employ, on average, 3.5 employees.
  • CODE will also create 3 to 5 large video game studios, each employing, on average, 45 workers.
  • It will tap into the knowledge of local and global experts in the game development sector and explore partnership opportunities through Dunedin’s sister city relationships with Edinburgh and Shanghai, while also working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
  • This work will also include, where possible, the establishment of agreements and partnerships with global game development companies and supporting agencies.

Location

Dunedin is well placed to do this as it builds on the city’s emerging gaming and digital businesses, a thriving start-up mentality, strong Māori partnerships, global links and strong academic partners.

While the primary focus will be on games for the entertainment sector, CODE will leverage the city’s key strengths in health and education and the impending Dunedin Hospital redevelopment to carve out a niche in the ‘games for health’ sector.

This will create real benefits for Dunedin’s local community, the region, and New Zealand.

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