Creative capital fit for game developers

Wellington was the platform for the New Zealand Game Developers Association to showcase its offering to the world

Connections and collaboration have been instrumental in the success of the recent New Zealand Game Developers Conference, hosting more than 700 attendees, 167 speakers, 18 sponsors and five side events.

Held at the national museum Te Papa Tongarewa, the conference proved so successful that the main event and most workshops sold out.

“The conference exceeded all our expectations, with more interest than what we could accommodate,” says a delighted Chelsea Rapp, Chairperson of NZGDC.

Partnership results in extra content

The New Zealand Game Developers Conference is an annual professional development festival for those who work in the game development and interactive media industries across Aotearoa and Australia.

This year’s conference was unique in that it incorporated the film, screen and interactive media sectors, alongside its traditional gaming content for the very first time.

The well received initiative to expand content – and the audience – is part of the recently-inked multi-year partnership between NZGDA and the city.

“Our Script to Screen workshop, for example, at the conference, was our first direct partnership with an established training programme in the screen sector - it was a huge success and a great example of the desire to collaborate across the sectors,” she says.

“The workshop was sold out, and the feedback from delegates phenomenal, in fact, Script to Screen is now going to offer the same game-focussed hybrid workshop at their own conference.”

This idea of a converged event really focussed on the people who are dedicated to collaborating, it’s about the opportunities to learn from one another and improve our collective business opportunities by virtue of sharing our resources.

Chelsea Rapp, Chairperson of NZGDC

At home in the creative capital

NZGDA has now anchored the annual conference in Wellington and continues to grow the focus on the emerging field of virtual production.

Alongside its fast-growing game development industry, Wellington was named a UNESCO City of Film in 2019 for the city's reputation as a global leader in film, TV and interactive media, making the capital an ideal destination.

It's also a knowledge hub for the sector, home to Massey University’s Screen Academy and Victoria University’s Miramar Creative Centre and Computational Media Innovation Centre (CMIC).

“There is excitement within the screen sector going forward, and a clear appetite for screen elements, which we’ll look to expand on next year,” says Chelsea.

The over-arching goal, she says, is to improve cross-industry collaborations, co-productions and direct investment within those industries, and strengthen Wellington’s position as a world leader in those sectors.

Meanwhile, next year’s NZGDA conference will take up residence in Wellington’s new convention and exhibition centre, Tākina, and by 2024, attendee numbers are expected to have doubled.

“There is already an incredible wealth of skill in the New Zealand game industry, but by bringing together the experience, creativity, and passion from other industries, we’re able to showcase what New Zealand has to offer to the world – and that’s what the NZGDC is all about.”

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