Growth in digital technology sectors like game development supports the Government’s vision for a high-wage, low-emissions economy. It can help bolster efforts to increase the diversity and resilience of New Zealand’s economic activity, build export revenues and create higher value jobs for New Zealanders.
Goal of the rebate scheme
The Game Development Sector Rebate (GDSR) aims to support the ongoing development and growth of New Zealand’s game development sector. It seeks to catalyse growth and job creation in mid- to large-sized game development studios to strengthen the domestic sector.
The GDSR complements existing funding to the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), which helps smaller firms to grow and strengthen their activities in New Zealand. This whole-of-sector approach aims to create a pipeline of developers and a sustainable ecosystem of domestic firms that develops homegrown intellectual property and puts talent development at the forefront.
With many skills and innovations applicable to other digital technology sectors and beyond, growth in the game development sector can bring positive spillovers for the wider economy and support a broader strengthening of higher-value, lower-emission activity, in line with the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan (ITP).
The Government has provided funding of $40 million per annum for delivering and administering a rebate for the game development sector. It is a rebate on eligible expenditures of eligible firms, at a rate of 20%. A firm’s rebate payment will be capped at $3 million per annum and the minimum qualifying expenditure per annum is $250,000.
The GDSR will be effective as of 1 April 2023. This means eligible firms can count eligible expenditures from this date.
MBIE has policy responsibility for the GDSR. The Government has announced that New Zealand On Air (NZ On Air) will be the delivery agency for the rebate. MBIE will review the GDSR after two years to gauge uptake and early impact. We will undertake another review at around the four-year mark to assess whether the scheme provides net benefits to New Zealand and whether modifications should be pursued.
Areas requiring further design
There are a range of other areas that require further elaboration for the scheme to be clear and function smoothly. The remainder of this document sets out proposals on eligibility criteria (for firms, game development activities, and expenditures), application processes and governance. The proposals are informed by other international schemes and initial ideas from the sector.
 Administration costs are included in the $40 million funding envelope. These total up to $1.263 million in 2023/24 and $1.850 million in 2024/25 and subsequent years and are subtracted from the amount available for the rebate.