In May, the Italian government approved a €4m funding scheme for the country’s video game developers. The Democratic Party’s Marianna Madia has now proposed an amendment to cancel this fund.
To recap, the First Playable Fund, as it is called, targets developers seeking to get new projects off the ground. It makes grants of between €10,000 and €200,000 per prototype available to studios to cover pre-production costs.
The fund was approved as part of the ‘Relaunch’ decree from the Council of Ministers, which seeks to support creative technological statups. It was strongly promoted by Mirella Liuzzi, Undersecretary at Ministry of Economic Development, who represents Italy’s Five Star Movement party.
Now, however, Marianna Madia, the spokesperson for the Democratic Party, has proposed an amendment to the Relaunch decree that aims to remove video games from the equation and, instead, allocate the 4 million euros to other types of innovative startups. These grants, according to Madia, will be better used to support businesses willing to acquire services from universities, incubators and research organizations.
If the amendment is adopted, Business Insider notes, it would further distance Italy from the progress achieved in video games by other European countries. While France and Germany have poured tens of millions of euros in their local gamedev scenes, the Italian government has consistently neglected this particular sector of digital entertainment. According to IIDEA, the association representing the video game industry in Italy, it was worth 1.8 billion euros in 2019. Of that, revenues from Italian developers accounted for just around €50 million.
If you want to learn more about the state of the industry in Italy, check out our interview with Alberto Belli, Founder & CEO at Gamera Interactive.