The New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) has partnered with Swedish-based FutureGames and the Otago Polytechnic with the aim of bringing high quality game development training to Dunedin.
The partnership is the latest milestone for CODE, a Dunedin-based national hub that is working towards the development of a $1 billion video game industry over the next ten years.
Earlier in the year, CODE launched a $700,000 startup and kickstart fund to nurture Dunedin's video game development ecosystem.
The fund attracted 56 Expressions of Interest from existing game developers, which are currently being assessed.
Successful projects will lay the foundations for new gaming studios and products in the years ahead, which in turn will create employment pathways for Otago Polytechnic programme graduates.
On the latest announcement, Dunedin City Council enterprise Dunedin director John Christie says, “This is a major opportunity for CODE and New Zealand in general.
"Until now, tertiary students wanting to get into the gaming industry have had limited options, so we expect the programme will attract students from around the country and, eventually, further afield.
“Through the international relationships we have forged with industry experts, such as FutureGames, the transformation of Dunedin's digital economy is one step closer. This will position the city as a global player in the video games industry, creating new economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities.
CODE establishment director, Tim Pointing, says he is ‘thrilled' with the initiative.
He says, “Game development is one of New Zealand's fastest growing creative careers. FutureGames is ranked second best game development school in the world, and with their expertise alongside Otago Polytechnics strengths in interactive media, this programme will produce graduates that can immediately apply their skills in the local gaming studio environment.
“The first step in its collaboration with Otago Polytechnic initiates a research and engagement programme with the gaming industry in Dunedin and nationally, to identify current gaps and build a fit-for-purpose training course.
Otago Polytechnic deputy chief executive: Learning and Teaching Services, Oonagh McGirr, also commented on the announcement, saying, “This exciting initiative draws on our collective strengths, including the expertise and vision within our Communication Design and Information Technology disciplines.
McGirr says, “In terms of working for the benefit and future of our regional community, creating opportunities in niche industry areas is vitally important.
As Otago Polytechnic's CODE representative, McGirr says he believes the collaboration aligns well with the recently established New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST-working title), of which Otago Polytechnic is a subsidiary.