Home News Boom of video games during the pandemic: in 2020 the market is worth 2.2 billion euros

Boom of video games during the pandemic: in 2020 the market is worth 2.2 billion euros

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The lockdown has elected video games as a favorite entertainment tool within the walls of the house. The data of the first Iidea-Censis report – “The economic and social value of videogames in Italy” – reveal how the videogame market has experienced a real explosion in the year of the pandemic: a turnover of 2.2 billion euros, with an increase of 21.9% over the previous year. Game hours have also increased, rising from 7 a week in 2019 to 8.5 at the peak of the first wave.

The market sectors

Most of the revenue comes from software, which is worth € 1.784 billion, 24.8% more than last year. The remaining 395 million come, instead, from hardware, where traditional platforms are losing ground and users prefer the latest generation consoles: 518 thousand new units, divided between PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S and Nintendo Switch.

As far as software is concerned, games in physical format now represent only 16% of the market, while digital sales, predictably preferred in the pandemic period over physical media, have recorded a leap forward.

Fifa dominates the ranking of best-selling video games in 2020, winning first and third place, respectively with Fifa 21 and Fifa 20, while the second is occupied by GTA 5, a video game from 2013 but still at the top of sales. The rest of the ranking is confirmed as rather varied, although Call of Duty also occupies two positions with Black Ops Cold War and Modern Warfare.

The value of entertainment, sociability and learning

The players, more or less loyal, in our country are 16.7 million, or 38% of the population between 6 and 64 years old. The winning secret for 71.6% of Italians, an even higher percentage of young people, is that video games are “fun and make you spend your time in a pleasant way”. And again for 68.2% they are considered engaging, able to excite and convey emotions, as well as easy to use for about 60%. Among the advantages, then, that of developing soft skills, such as problem solving or decision making.

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“The Italians demonstrate to a large extent that they are aware of the potential of video games – says Massimiliano Valerii, general manager of Censis – now a certain stereotypical narrative needs to be rejuvenated”. Also for the president of Iidea, “Gaming is no longer considered only as a phenomenon of entertainment and gaming, but also as a social response to people’s needs, an innovative solution for teaching, a basis for comparison and relational exchange” .

But the needs that video games helped to cover in the pandemic period are above all those relating to sociability and the reduction of anxiety, with 48% of respondents declaring that “they helped me feel less isolated”.

59.1% of Italians also think that videogames can make an important contribution to scientific dissemination and the dissemination of the results of studies and research in a clear and understandable way. 57.9% emphasize the therapeutic function that video games can play for some specific pathologies, such as attention deficit or hyperactivity. For 56.5% electronic games promote tourism and knowledge of the places in which they are set and 51.6% consider them useful for school teaching.

Expanding job opportunities

And video games are not just entertainment, but also an expanding thriving market able to offer new job opportunities, especially to the youngest. Italians believe in the potential of the sector and, for 57.9%, the talent and creativity of Italian developers will make gaming an ambassador in the world of Made in Italy, contributing to the national economic recovery.

In Italy the sector currently has an estimated size of about 160 companies and 1600 total employees, of which 79% are under the age of 36. These are not exorbitant numbers, but the leap in quality could come with the PNRR: by investing the 45 million euros in gaming in five years foreseen by the Plan for the financing of digital service platforms for developers and cultural enterprises, the turnover of the sector would rise to 357 million euros in 2026. The intervention would create about a thousand skilled jobs for young people, would activate a total of 360 million euros of private investments and generate 81 million of additional tax revenue.

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