The Italian video games market was worth $1.09bn in 2011, and more than half of this was generated by software sales.
Italy has suffered slight declines in sales of hardware, software and accessories since 2010 but the nation is still home to a healthy retail landscape.
“Italy is the fourth largest economy in Europe, with a favourable position in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea,” says Ilaria Amodeo, PR manager for Italian games industry trade body Aesvi.
“Its 60m potential consumers – highly sophisticated and receptive to innovative technologies – contribute to making it one of the most outstanding pilot markets for ICT products and services.”
Specialist retailers dominate the market, with GameStop and MediaMarkt established as market leaders. The former has over 400 stores across Italy and can take market share of more than 50 per cent on major PS3 and Xbox 360 releases, while the latter has 100 branches and accounts for roughly 20 per cent of Italian games sales.
Most major publishers have a local office to better handle releases in the region, supported by several local distributors. However, only the larger publishers can afford to establish a strong presence in Italy.
“You need to generate a turnover of at least €15m to justify setting up and running a local office,” the boss of one Italian distributor told us. “If this is not realistic you will need to work with a distribution partner.”
Ubisoft Milan and SBK developer Milestone are among the studios of note. Most game companies are based in Milan and Lumbardy.
Italy is Europe’s No.2 country in terms of mobile phone usage, with the number of active SIM cards standing at over 90m. So there is a large market for mobile games.
GDP (Per Capita): $37,046
Capital City: Rome
Auchan, Carrefour, Darty, Euronics, Expert, Feltrinelli, FNAC, GamesBond, GamesLife, GameStop, Iper, La Feltrinelli, MediaMarkt, Mondadori Multicenter, OpenGames, Panorama/Gruppo Pam
Cidiverte, DB Studios, Digital Bros/Halifax, Koch Media, Leader, Namco Bandai, Newave, Shardan
Activart, Adventures Planet, AlittleB.it, Artematica, Consorzio Milonga, Double Jungle, DP Studios, Digital Tales, Forge Reply, Imagimotion, Just Funny Games, Frame Studios, Magic Dream Games, Milestone, Raylight Games, TiconBlu, Twelve Games, Ubisoft Milan
PUBLISHERS IN THE REGION
505 Games, Activision Blizzard, Disney, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Namco Bandai, Nintendo, Sony, Ubisoft, Warner Bros