A new player has entered the game in the Italian games industry, with distributor 4Side launching today, before officially going live in March 2020, MCV@gamescom can reveal. Tech distribution giant Esprinet owns a 51 per cent stake in the newly founded distributor, which was created following an MBO by the leadership team of Activision Blizzard’s former Italian subsidiary.
Having bought the local subsidiary, 4Side has already signed a four-year partnership with Activision Blizzard for the physical distribution of its products in Italy.
Mentioning this exclusive distribution agreement, general manager Paolo Chisari (pictured top), former senior director general manager Italy at Activision Blizzard and president of Italian games trade association AESVI before that, said 4Side is “ready to give the same level of service to other publishers in the Italian market.”
The Italian distribution market is still notably uncompetitive, with the biggest Italian distributor being Digital Bros (505 Games’ parent company). But the combined experience of 4Side’s management team in the region will be its strength, Chisari reckoned, and it should place the firm strategically within the market: “It’s by working [at Activision Blizzard] that I can say with confidence that I now know what publishers want and expect from a distributor, and I also know what a distributor needs in order to provide the right service, both to the publisher and the market it is working within.
“The aim of 4Side is to become one of the leading distributors in the world of entertainment, and we think we’ve got all the skills we need to achieve that goal; 25 years of experience in the Italian market, for one, as well as a decade’s worth of experience in distribution, 15 years of experience as a multinational company – both in Italy and in emerging markets – and great financial support thanks to the composition of the company.”
4Side is present at gamescom this year, with Chisari saying it’s “the perfect place” to grow: “We are serious, and we’re prepared, but we also know the complexity of our business. gamescom will be the perfect opportunity for us to communicate this.”
The announcement from 4Side further said that the new distributor plans to “revolutionise distribution in the Italian entertainment industry” and will be “setting a new standard by creating a unified one stop shop for all commercial and go to market requirements.”
Read more of our gamescom 2019 coverage
Note: This article has been edited at the request of 4Side after being posted to remove potentially contentious comments on the Italian market