eSports in Italy: Let’s take stock of the situation

Il punto della situazione sugli eSports in Italia: un mercato in costante crescita thumbnail

On the occasion of the publication of the Guide to eSports (written by ISFE eSports), the exponents of the sector in Italy took the opportunity to take stock of the situation on the market. All in a webinar promoted by IIDEA which we attended: here are the salient points.

Guide to eSports presented

In a very interesting webinar held this morning – March 2 – IIDEA officially presented the Italian version of Guide to eSports. It is a text written by ISFE eSports which consists of a real free vademecum to better understand the sector. A manual useful to both investors and the media, which describes an ever-expanding world. He was the Master of Ceremonies during the conference Alessio CrisantemiDirector in charge of eSportsMag, who moderated the debate. Among the guests instead Sergi Waitress (Head of ISFE Esports) who presented the Guide; Federico Brambilla (IIDEA Vice President and CEO Exeed); Marco Soranno (Sports Product Manager PG Sports); Carlo Barone (Supervisor, Brand Management Italy di Riot Games); e Luca Pagano (CEO of the QLASH sports team).

The Guide to eSports, in addition to providing the incredible numbers of the sector of the last few years, also traces the history of this world. A journey that starts from the dawn of the concept of competitive video game up to the present day. A sector that – as explained by Sergi Mesonero – generates jobs despite the difficult post-pandemic moment. “From the point of view of users then – explains Mesonero in English – eSports are extremely inclusive as, unlike traditional sports, they do not have gender distinctions”. In fact, the Guide shows that 30% of users are female.

“Ten years ago no one would have found it fun to watch others play videogames”

Once the Guide has been presented, we move on to the real focus of the discussion: how is the market evolving in Italy? The debate therefore focuses on how the phenomenon arises, and on what drives users to this world. “Only ten years ago – explains Marco Soranno, Esports Product Manager PG Esports – it would have been unthinkable to imagine a world in which people have fun watching others play. No sponsor invested in something like this “. According to Soranno, the interest on the part of users derives above all from platforms dedicated to eSports: “Young people are tired of TV and old media. They prefer the web, they prefer Twitch ”explains Soranno. Analysis also shared by Federico Brambilla (Vice President of IIDEA and CEO Exeed) who reiterates the importance of certain platforms: “Compared to traditional media, on Twitch, users can interact and feel part of a community.”

With great experience in the sector, and representing a brand well loved by fans and gamers, Carlo Barone (Supervisor, Brand Management Italy of Riot Games), carries out a sociological analysis. For Barone, users follow eSports for three reasons:

  • Cheer and support a team (similarly to what happens, for example, in football)
  • Understanding the mechanics of a given game: fans of a title who want to see how professionals move within it
  • For an evolutionary question: many videogame franchises have now become cross-generational, and many fans – who may not even play anymore – are curious to see how that game world has changed. An example in this sense can be League Of Legends (LOL), which not surprisingly is a title by Riot Games, and is among the most passionate video games as regards eSports in Italy.

Luca Pagano, on the other hand, emphasizes the generational issue: “eSports grow because the digital native generations play more than the previous ones”.

The pandemic has brought users closer but has put the eSports sector in Italy in difficulty

There is no doubt that the pandemic has brought numerous sectors to their knees in favor of others. The world of eSports, however, is conflicted on this: video games boomed during lockdown periods and so did the platforms connected to them. However, as Federico Brambilla recalls, this sector it also thrives on dedicated face-to-face meetings: “From a business point of view, the pandemic was traumatic: we already had plans for all the events and fairs in the area. Demonstrations that have obviously been canceled, ”said Brambilla.

Recall that some of these events that are referred to – such as the Naples Comicon or the Romicon – are fairs organized with important budgets and sponsors. Therefore, cancellation often means a loss of income for many companies in the sector. “We had to be creative – continues Brambilla – and transform some events into digital format. However, from a users point of view, eSports in Italy have been more followed than ever. “Many in the pandemic have found an escape route in gaming – explained Carlo Barone – a way to socialize”.

The road therefore seems bright for the sector, but before closing Brambilla has time for a nice and acute reflection: “The difficult thing is to make young people understand that working in eSports does not mean playing: you have to pedal”. After all making passion a profession is everyone’s dreamwe must not forget, however, that it is still a job.

Marco Dellapina is a passionate writer who dives into the exciting world of video games. With a deep love for gaming, Marco brings you the latest updates, reviews, and insights on the ever-evolving landscape of interactive entertainment. Join Marco on an immersive journey through the realm of video games and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and releases. Get ready to level up your gaming knowledge with Marco Dellapina's articles.