May 22nd, 2020: IIDEA, the trade association representing the video game industry in Italy, has expressed its satisfaction with the introduction of the First Playable Fund in the framework of the Relaunch Statute (in Italian: DL Rilancio) approved by the Council of Ministers on 13th May. The decree aims to relaunch the Italian economy in the face of the Covid-19 emergency. The objective of the First Playable Fund is to part-finance the creation of videogame prototypes and aims to develop and underpin the video games industry at a national level.
The First Playable Fund, approved within the Relaunch Statute, provides an initial budget of four million euros for 2020. It 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% of eligible expenditure, and for an amount between EUR 10,000 and EUR 200,000 per single prototype.
Distribution of the funds will be defined by a subsequent decree by the Ministry of Economic Development and will set out eligibility criteria as well as the application and selection methods. The objective is to grant gaming entrepreneurs, mostly small businesses, access to funding without cumbersome procedures.
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 Statute - 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), shows how teams based in South 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. 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.