Italy is among the fastest growing videogame markets in Europe – editorial

The Italian gaming industry continues to show signs of consistent growth reaching 1.7 billion euros in 2018, + 18.9% compared to the previous year. We are still behind compared to other European countries (both the United Kingdom with its more than 4.4 billion euros, and Germany, also with a turnover of 4.4 billion euros; already in 2016 France was 3.4 billion), but the annual growth was among the most virtuous on a continental level, a sign that the market is growing at a rapid pace. A market that today speaks to 16 million people who play every week, especially on smartphones.

In particular, software led the growth last year: 1.3 billion euros, or 76% of the total Italian videogame market, up by 26.9% compared to 2017. Thanks above all to the digital games segment for consoles and PCs, which grew by 86.6% year-on-year to 548 million euros, which offset the 8.7% drop in the physical, which still marked 338 million euros. A result that, however, positions it as the third factor of the Italian market, also behind mobile applications. FIFA 19 is the best-selling game both in physical format (followed by Red Dead Redemption 2 and Marvel’s Spider-Man) and digitally. It is surprising, but not too much, that in Italy the second most downloaded game on consoles and PCs is GTA V, which, years after its release, continues to grind mind-boggling numbers.

FIFA 19 leads the rankings of the most popular video games in Italy.

For annual growth follows the mobile world of applications, which in Italy in 2018 was worth 445 million euros (+ 15.6% on an annual basis). Candy Crush: Saga was the most popular game, followed in the Top 10 by Clash Royale and Clash of Clans. The hardware instead saw a decline of 0.6% up to 426 million euros, all in all predictable in the absence of major launches in this segment last year. In the 334 million generated by the consoles, a small percentage of “retro” consoles also appears, which with 85 thousand units sold represented 7.7% of the volume in 2018.

Accessories continue to be a vibrant segment, with revenues of over 102 million euros and 8.1% growth. Half of this turnover comes from gamepads: more than 53 million euros and over a million units sold.

“The video game market is solid and its growth shows no signs of stopping, thanks above all to its extraordinary wealth as a form of entertainment capable of creating connections between people and becoming increasingly accessible” said Marco Saletta, president of AESVI. “2019 promises to be a year full of surprises and it will be exciting to experience a new evolution of the market through the arrival of new operators and the emergence of new business models. We are ready for the new challenges that await us”.

Digital is the fastest growing segment.

The average Italian gamer? He is male (54%), between 15 and 24 years old or between 45 and 64 years old (13%) and mainly plays on smartphones (10.1 million people). The number of gamers has risen to 16 million people, that is 37% of the Italian population in the sample examined (6-64 years). After smartphones, the PC is the most used device (by 7.6 million people) and only in third position are consoles (6 million). However, it is precisely on consoles that the highest average game time is measured every week: 5 hours.

In short, there is a lot of room for improvement, but the news is that video games in Italy are liked and liked by a diversified audience. Streaming services and subscriptions will change the commercial balance (certainly making the physique less and less attractive, already the most weakened today) and it will be very interesting to interpret, already next year, how much this will have impacted on the Italian market.