The relatively small city of Wellington on the North Island employs almost 100 full time game developers (roughly one quarter of New Zealand’s total game development sector), and has a community of roughly 300.
It’s best known for the work of PikPok, an indie/mobile publisher responsible for the BAFTA-nominated Super Monsters Ate My Condo (2013) and endless first-person runner Into The Dead, and has several other indie studios of varying profiles making up its core group of teams.
The city’s workforce itself has a high proportion of people who weren’t originally born in Wellington, has a comparatively quite young median working age of 34, while the number holding tertiary education qualifications is 28 per cent.
Grow Wellington, the regional economic agency, says that ‘…[s]killed talent exists in digital asset creation regardless of the platform in game development, animation and visual effects’. This is bolstered not only within the game development sector, but by the presence of Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop, based in the suburb of Miramar. New Zealand’s ‘premier digital entertainment conference’ AnimfxNZ is also hosted annually in Wellington.
Tertiary courses in game design are primarily from local universities (as opposed to Auckland which houses the Media Design School), but Grow Wellington says the local talent is ‘a mixture of emerging young talent, experienced professionals, and professionals entering the industry from the screen and digital industries’.
It also states that keeping incoming talent high in Wellington is key to challenges to the region in upcoming years, and stressed the importance of continuing to create new and original IP like Rocket Jump’s MiniGolf Matchup or Camshaft Software’s Automation to secure adequate creative control over its commercial and artistic future.