Italian Game Market analysis

We all know that Italy is famous for its pizza, football, and art. But what if we tell you there is something else that is becoming an Italian landmark?

Over the last couple of years, the Italian gaming industry has been on a constant rise, and the numbers back up this claim.

In this article, we’re bringing you all the important statistics and facts about the Italian game market. Since we’re a part of the mobile app & game business, we’ll be putting a special focus on the Italian mobile game market.

Let’s dive right in!

Italian Game Market size

Italian Game Market Size and Revenue

With Italy being one of the biggest European countries, it comes as no surprise that it’s also one of the biggest game markets in Europe.

But did you know that the Italian game market is also in the top 10 on the global level?

Yes, you read it right.

According to Newzoo, the Italian game market is the world’s 9th largest market by revenue. With a base of approximately 36.55 million gamers, it is estimated to be worth $ 3.5 billion.

The top three places on the top 10 list belong to China, the United States, and Japan. Obviously, these countries don’t only have developed gaming markets, but also significantly larger populations.

For this reason, it’s best to look into how Italy stands among similar-sized countries on the list. Italy is the fourth-largest game market in Europe, ranking behind Germany, the UK, and France.

Italy: A Post-Pandemic Gaming Force

When someone mentions rising and emerging markets, people tend to think about the developing world.

While there is nothing wrong with that, it’s also important to be aware that some developed markets are growing even further. While the pandemic had seriously bad effects on country economies, including the Italian one, this didn’t stop its game market from growing.

How the Italian Game Market Grew Over the Years

IIDEA (Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association) represents the Italian video games industry. As a part of its mission, this organization conducts industry research and publishes the results in the form of reports.

In the next part, we’re bringing you some of the key findings from IIDEA’s two most recent reports: the Italian Game Developers Census (2021) and Essential Facts about Video Games in Italy (2020).

device distribution italy game market

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the  Italian game market grew by 21%, reaching $ 2.67 billion in revenue.

As much as 82% of this revenue came from software (apps, digital and physical games) while hardware (consoles and accessories) accounted for 18%.

Since the software market consists of different formats, it’s also interesting to look into how much each of them was worth.

iidea games in italy distribution

The data shows that the biggest share of software revenue came from console and PC games, while mobile apps were a close second. Nevertheless, app gaming grew by 33.5% in 2020, which was the highest growth among all segments.

If there weren’t for the pandemic and the 2020 lockdown, these numbers would probably be not as high.

IIDEA italy time spent playing games

The lockdowns had an especially positive effect on the amount of time people spent gaming. The average gaming time in 2020 was over 8 hours a week, which is about half an hour more than in 2019. Even though the lockdowns are a thing of the past, this was certainly a positive thing for the industry because people formed the habit of playing games more.

A lot of questions about the Italian game market cannot be answered without its main participants – the game developers. For this reason, as a part of its Game Developers Census, IIDEA conducted a survey among them and brought us many exciting facts about the Italian game market.

Here are just some of them.

iidea Italian Game Market revenue

You’re already familiar with how much the Italian game market is worth. But where does all this money come from? According to the survey, a vast majority of these revenues (94%) came from the international market, and only a slim 6% came from Italy. Nevertheless, most of the earnings come from European countries – 54%.

It’s also interesting to look into the hiring and operational numbers in the sector.

The number of employees in Italian gaming companies grew by 45%  from 2018 to 2021. This has led to the fact that the majority of studios have more than 10 employees.

italian game market revenue and companies

When it comes to their operations, most of these studios are stable, mature businesses. The thing is, 73% of surveyed studios have been active for at least four years. A lot of these companies have established strategic international partnerships or were even acquired by global leaders in the games industry.

Then again, the other group consists of young startups that are doing fresh and innovative work to try and stand out in the market.

Speaking of young, the survey also showed that Italian gaming professionals are a relatively young group of people. Approximately 80% of people working in this market are 36 or younger.

It seems like mature businesses, young startups and young employees are a winning combo to grow a games market.

Italian Game Market attractiveness

All things considered, most of the surveyed developers (46%) have stated that Italy has become a more appealing business location for game companies.

Italian Game Market: Mobile Games

There is no discussing the Italian game market without diving into its fastest-growing segment  – the mobile game market.

First things first, let’s run some numbers on it.

italian mobile game market growth

According to Sensor Tower, from 2017 to 2021, the Italian mobile game market revenues grew 24% year-over-year. Italy was one of the countries that had the most noticeable revenue growth during early pandemic lockdowns. For this reason, after reaching a spike in Q2 2020, there was a slight drop before it rose again by the end of the year.

This growth trend won’t stop any time soon.

Italy is also among the top 10 countries by projected market share between 2020 and 2023. It is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 21.6% (Sensor Tower). This puts it into the company of countries like Germany, Canada, and the US as well as some rapidly growing South Asian markets like Malaysia and Thailand.

mobile gamer

What You Should Know About Italian Mobile Gamers

Italian mobile gamers come with some unique habits and preferences you need to know in order to really get them.

According to AdColony,  59% of adults in Italy play mobile games. Females are a slightly more prevalent group, making up 50.9%, while 49.1% of gamers are male.

Hence, it’s safe to say that Italy is one of the countries that is fighting one of the most common stereotypes about gamers – that most of them are teenage men.

The prevalent age group of Italian mobile gamers isn’t teenagers either. In fact, the majority of gamers (36.3% of them) are 45 or older. They are followed by a 35–44 age group with 25.5% (AdColony).

What kinds of games do Italian mobile gamers prefer? Let’s see what the numbers tell us.

AdColony’s research shows that the  top three mobile game genres  in Italy are:

  • action / adventure games (46.5%)
  • sports games (40.4%)
  • puzzle games (37.9%)

We can also find out a lot about Italian gamers’ preferences by looking into the latest data from the app stores.

Judging by the number of daily active users on the App Store  (DAU), the most popular games in February 2022  in Italy were: Hay Day (simulation game), 8 Ball Pool (sports game), and Clash Royale (strategy game).

On Android, some recently leading mobile games in Italy were: Subway Surfers (casual game), Candy Crush Saga (puzzle game), and Clash of Clans (strategy game).

Ad Revenue Potential

If you have a mobile game that fits Italian gamers’ preferences, you might be considering putting in some extra effort to reach this market.

This might motivate you even further.

Italy is among the world’s top 20 countries by rewarded video ad eCPMs, both on Android and iOS. On iOS, the eCPMs average at $ 3.10, and at $ 1.89 on Android. It also made the top in banner ad eCPMs on Android, averaging at $ 0.18.

Therefore, if you use one of these two ad formats to make money off your game, you can consider Italy a fertile ground.

What You Should Know About Italian Mobile Game Publishers

The Italian game market is not only big because of its userbase, but also because of its active mobile game publishing community.

Here are some interesting statistics about Italian mobile game publishers provided by 42Matters.

italian mobile game market publishers

On Google Play, there are currently over 1100 Italian game publishers that have published over 2,900 mobile games. This fertile ground for game publishing is still underutilized – Italian publishers make up about 1% of the global publishing market. This tells us that there is still plenty of room for more studios and publishers to operate in the Italian territory.

For the most part, Italian publishers release their games on a single platform. Nevertheless, 29% of them publish both on Google Play and the App Store, which is higher than the global average of 18%.

It’s also interesting to analyze how Italian mobile game publishers make the big bucks.

mobile games italy monetization

The majority of mobile games published in Italy (66%)  make money through in-app ads, This is lower than the worldwide average of 72%. Moreover, 25% of Italian games are monetized with in-app purchases, while 9% require upfront payments.

Here’s a fun fact – an average mobile game published in Italy gets about 264 thousand downloads (42Matters). Naturally, it’s the leading publishers with millions of downloads that boost the average numbers.

Which are those? Here’s a list of the  top 5 Italian mobile game publishers by revenue, according to Data.ai (formerly App Annie):

  1. WhatWapp
  2. 505 Games
  3. RORTOS
  4. Sandwiches
  5. EpochalStorm

Top Italian Mobile Game Events

Wherever there is a flourishing game market, there are usually some exciting gaming events as well. As the Italian gaming scene continues to grow, the number of such events is on the rise too.

The two biggest events for Italian game developers are  First Playable and DStars.

Both of these events have been around since 2019. During the years, they have gathered hundreds of game developers and industry professionals. Developers can participate in both of these events regardless of the platform where they publish their games (PC, console, mobile).

You may be wondering – what about events just for mobile game developers?

Unfortunately, there are still not many of them.

For this reason, MyAppFREE teamed up with AppsFlyer to organize a  mobile gaming event of our own – the  Adrenaline Rush game jam.

Get Ready: The First Italian Game Jam With € 100k in Prizes

In case you are not familiar with how game jams work, let’s clear that up first.

Game jams are events where participants attempt to create a new game from scratch. There is usually a theme and a short amount of time to develop the game. After that, independent judges determine the winners.

Wondering what makes the  Adrenaline Rush game jam so special? This game jam is all-Italian.

The purpose of this event is to create a countrywide competition that will gather hundreds of Italian mobile game developers. Their experience level is irrelevant – both indie developers and established studios can participate.

Once developers sign up for the jam, they will need to develop a mobile action game that follows the theme of the event. The theme will be announced two months before the deadline  (July 15th) which means the developers will have a short amount of time to organize.

The developers that accept this challenge won’t be left on their own. In a partnership with Unity3D, MyAppFree has planned out a variety of webinars that developers can attend to learn some new things. By providing educational content, we strive to strengthen the Italian mobile game developing community even further.

On top of all this, the prize pool is quite motivating as the total prize money goes up to € 100 thousand. The prize money will be split across three categories: The Grand Prix, Top Performers, and Jury Favorites. Besides money awards, the games with the most promising KPIs will also get an exclusive publishing offer.

Are you an Italian game developer? Good news – there’s still time to sign up for the jam. You can check out all the details about the event here!

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