Italy to catch UK as Hypermarkets arrive

The Italian video game market has begun to approach the maturity of its European counterparts, France and the UK, as strong retail chains cash in on opportunities for growth.

While the market has grown by almost 25 per cent over the course of 2008, it is still seen to be in the early stages of development, but retailers and publishers are confident this is set to change.

Atari’s head of Europe Mediterranean region Andrea Colombo told MCV: For many reasons, [Italy’s] still a couple of years from the more mature markets like the UK or French one. But this means enormous space for growth. And the change is happening right now.

The Italian market is dramatically different from the one I knew ten years ago when I joined the market. It’s becoming increasingly similar to the modern and mature markets, with very strong big chains like GameStop and Blockbuster, and more efficient independent stores like Open Game. The market is now more concentrated, with the top ten retailers covering over 75 per cent of the market.”

One of the key challenges the territory faces as it develops is the lack of hypermarkets, according to Black Bean Games’ head of marketing, Fabrizio Vagliasindi.

These channels, which perform much better in other European countries, are weaker here,” he says. And this affects the sales of mass-market products in terms of potential. Buyers are not getting the right mix of product, and the shelves are not being filled properly. This will be a big area of improvement over the next couple of years.”

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