Italian government match funds €4m of game prototypes as part of post-COVID measures

Italy was hit hard and early by COVID-19 but is now planning its way out of the pandemic. And a part of that includes €4m of support for the Italian games industry as part of the government’s broad Relaunch Decree (DL Rilancio).

The First Playable Fund was recently approved by with the aim being to part-finance the development of prototypes in order to encourage the games industry to boom as it comes out of the pandemic. 

Now, arguably the games industry hasn’t been badly hit by the lockdown, and has actually benefited from a surge in sales. But if you’re looking to kickstart your economy, then investing in games is a good way to go about building long-term growth.

“It is a sector consisting of small and micro-enterprises that are poorly capitalized, operating in a very competitive international market.”

The initial budget of €4m is to be distributed over 2020, the Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association (IIDEA) told us. And will be used to “support concept development and pre-production of video games, in order to facilitate the creation of prototype game demos, by means of non-refundable grants, covering 50 per cent of eligible expenditure, and for an amount between EUR 10,000 and EUR 200,000 per single prototype.”

So in short it’s a match funding scheme, with no payback, to get titles to a first playable. 

Thalita Malago, director-general of IIDEA stated: “As an Association we have been working for a long time to obtain public funding measures for the Italian videogames industry. It is a sector consisting of small and micro-enterprises that are poorly capitalized, operating in a very competitive international market. We are happy that with the DL Rilancio – or Relaunch Decree – it was possible to take the first step in this direction. We thank the Ministry of Economic Development for the farsightedness demonstrated by the inclusion of the First Playable Fund, which reduces the gap between Italy and other European countries in terms of public support to the video game industry.”

A recent study on the impact of the COVID-19 emergency on development studies in Europe, promoted by the European Game Developer Federation (EGDF), showed how teams based in southern Europe are the most pessimistic about their future, with a concrete risk of closure of many independent studies even in the course of this year. The IIDEA said: “This is explained not only by the fact that the countries of Southern Europe, including Italy, are the most affected by the emergency itself, but also by the lack of public support to the sector that characterizes Italy in particular.”

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