The pandemic was a golden affair for game makers – The Covid-19 emergency has done well to the accounts of the video game sector in Italy. This is what emerges from the latest report by IIDEA, the association that brings together developers and producers in our country, and which each year describes the state of health of the sector.

Forced indoors for weeks or months, and with all the limits to travel and social activities caused by lockdowns, Italians in 2020 consumed many more video games than the previous year. A phenomenon that has also occurred in other countries and has affected various sectors, such as streaming entertainment or e-commerce.

The turnover figures speak for themselves: for the first time, video games in Italy have moved more than two billion euros: 2 billion and 179 million to be precise, corresponding to an increase of 21.9 percent compared to 2019. To give an idea of ​​the acceleration in a market that is still growing year on year, just think that the increase in business between two “normal” years like 2018 and 2019 it was only 1.7 percent.

Marco Saletta, President of IIDEA, rejoices for the numbers, but he also focuses his attention on more and more mature social perception of the medium. “This significant growth is not only the result of the pandemic that has made us spend more time at home but is a testament to the growing interest in video games as a form of entertainment and communication. In fact, 2020 marked a turning point also in the social and cultural perception of the medium and brought with it one more broad public understanding of the potential of the video game as a tool for socializing and learning ».

The IIDEA report also provides other interesting data on Italian videogame consumption. The entire sector was driven by games, with a particular increase in those downloaded from official stores: if the entire sector generated a turnover of 1.7 billion euros (up 24.8% compared to 2019) , the digital segment, including digital downloads on consoles and PCs and apps, recorded the largest expansion, rising from 602 to 799 million euros.

Hardware sales are also growing thanks to the good numbers of Nintendo Switch and the launch of the new generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles, which arrived on the market at the end of 2020 and whose effects will also be seen on the current year. The sector generated a turnover of 395 million euros with a growth of 6.9 percent.

A little surprisingly, the number of Italian gamers has not changed and indeed, compared to 2019, it marks a slight decline: 16.7 million Italians have played in the past year (in 2018 there were 17 million). However, the time dedicated to playing has grown significantly, with an average of 8 hours a week on all devices, growing by over half an hour over the whole of 2019, but with peaks an extra hour per week during the first and second waves. As for the most used gaming platforms, devices such as smartphones and tablets excel with 10.6 million gamers (of which half are women), ahead of PCs (7.2 million) and home consoles (6.7 million) .

The Covid-19 effect was also recorded on online video games, which for many gamers of all ages have become the only meeting place with friends and acquaintances. 50 percent said they use them to stay in touch with friends, 48 ​​percent to feel less isolated, and 39 percent as a tool to feel less anxious.



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