New Zealand game developers have launched their own startup programme in response to a slowing of overall growth in the industry.
In the past financial year, 134 new jobs were created in the New Zealand gaming industry,
according to a survey by the New Zealand Game Developers Association.
The industry now employs 568 full-time employees and earned $78.7 million in FY2015, up 3 per cent on the previous year. Digital exports generated 82 per cent of the industry's revenue.
Despite the slight increase, the overall sector's growth has slowed due to a lack of new businesses being established by either local startups or international investors, Game Developers Association chairman Stephen Knightly.
"We expect a good year ahead for the established games studios, but we're concerned that our pipeline of up and coming studios has dried up," he said.
"Tellingly, every local games business with more than 10 employees is at least six years old. We haven't seen another local success scale up in recent years."
As a result, the association is running its own startup programme, the KiwiGameStarter, and Knightly said they are calling for government screen visual effects schemes to be modernised to attract international video game productions.
"Although we have a proven track record, skills and the ability to reach global markets digitally, the survey highlights a scarcity of startups on track to become the next generation of sustainable studios.
"Since games are global and digital in nature, with a good prototype it is possible to attract crowdfunding, publishing deals or private investment. But a gap in investment at the early stage is preventing small independent developers from even getting that far."
The KiwiGameStarter scheme will provide one promising games business funding, software, and business mentoring support worth over $25,000, Knightly said.
It is supported by Callaghan Innovation, ISP BigPipe, Microsoft, game development tool makers Autodesk and Unity 3D, Pursuit Public Relations and Hudson Gavin Martin lawyers.
A second studio will also win $5,000 plus software.
Recent New Zealand-made game launches include Outsmart's Bloodgate, Ice Age Avalanche by Gameloft Auckland, Monsters Ate My Metropolis by Pikpok and Path of Exile's The Awakening expansion, Knightly said.
Playable prototypes and business plans for the competition are due on August 28.
Further details are available here.