Most people know Italy for its wines, cars, and fashion, but a new industry just might be rising into the spotlight. Over the past three years, Italy’s game industry has seen incredible growth. A recent survey reported by GamesBeat states that, since 2018, the industry has grown by a whopping 45 percent. That’s right—it’s Italian gaming’s time to shine.
The results of the survey, which was conducted by Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association and IDG Consulting, show that Italy’s game industry has begun to mature, with many companies being acquired by international groups or establishing partnerships with international companies. This has caused the size of the companies and their revenue to grow, with overall revenues up 21.9 percent since 2018. There are now more than 1,600 developers and 160 game studios in the industry.
Although Italy’s population is small in comparison to countries like China or the US, 38 percent of its population are gamers, and over 1.5 million Italians work in creative industries. This makes Italy a prime location for game development. The industry has also learned to pull from its country’s strengths, finding a niche in racing games inspired by Italy’s automotive industry. Some of the latest productions include MotoGP 21, which came out in April, and RIMS Racing, set to be released this August. In addition to racing games, Italy’s game developers have found success in the horror genre with titles such as The Suicide of Rachel Foster and Remothered: Tormented Fathers. Moving forward, industry leaders plan to harness their momentum to focus on AA and AAA games.
What is perhaps most impressive about the growth of Italy’s game industry is that it has prevailed despite the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half of developers reported no effect on their operations, and remote work proved to be either neutral or beneficial for business. Video game studios may also hope to benefit from an announced tax break, which would cover 25 percent of production costs if approved, and a new decree that would allow them to get half of their prototype creations covered. Such timely financial assistance could give Italy’s game industry the boost it needs to expand into bigger markets.
The only possible hindrance for the budding industry is the lack of local investors. At the moment, the game industry in Italy is still too small to draw significant interest. Fortunately, however, the large majority of revenue comes from the international market, and there are numerous venture capital funds worldwide that might just be willing to take a chance on Italy’s rapidly expanding industry if the current pace continues. Only time will tell, but if the survey results serve as any indication of how things will progress, we will be seeing a lot more of Italy in the years to come.
NetEase called it a bug, but others called it a feature.