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While the Game Developers Conference marked its 30th edition from March 16 to March 18 in San Francisco, Italy got a special spot in the event thanks to twelve companies selected to represent the Italian Game Industry. Considered one of the youngest in a sector that is still young itself, the game development in Italy has seen the first companies founded in late 80s and 90s. However, only in the last five years, the establishment of several game development studios has increased.
Today there are a hundred companies operating in the games industry, working mainly on mobile, browser and console games. Together with the development of commercial game titles, Italian companies also focus on educational projects, advergames and work-for-hire. This is one of the reasons why AESVI, the Italian Game Industry Association, launched - at the beginning of 2011 - a specific program for Italian companies, called AESVI4Developers. The idea was to build an action plan in order to support the enhancement of the national industry both locally and internationally. As a part of the program, at the end of 2012, AESVI created “Games in Italy”, a brand that promotes the well-known “Made in Italy” mark also in the game development industry abroad as well as a guarantee to easily identify the very best of Italian gaming industry companies.
AESVI has worked together with the Los Angeles office of Italian Trade Promotion Agency (ICE), the Italian government organisation that helps develop and promote economic and commercial relationships abroad. Nevertheless, the ICE gave its economical support to this group of companies, as underlined by the local Commissioner, Florindo Blandolino: «Games in Italy is, in fact, a brand created to promote “Made in Italy” for the Game Industry abroad and to identify the best for this industry in our country».
We talked to some of the companies who got a spot in the Italian Pavilion at the Moscone Center.
Alessandro Mazzega from Forge Reply, a development studio specialized in the production of games for consoles, PC/Mac and mobile devices, shared the team’s impressions about the event: «Forge Reply attended GDC in San Francisco to pitch a new project to publishers. The show is the best in North America for this kind of opportunities and it’s also very interesting to learn the new trends of the gaming industry and try the latest technologies. We also had the chance to meet some existing clients and new contacts for potential work for hire projects. The show has been great and we’re now working on the follow-ups, trying to secure a publishing deal for our game».
Also Marco Di Timoteo from Studio Evil, an independent game development studio born from the endless passion of three guys born in the ‘80s, believes that «The great thing about GDC is that it gives you the ability to connect with other companies in the industry. It is a great opportunity to showcase new projects, attracts fundings and create important business partnerships. We learned a lot by talking about our experiences with other developers from all over the world. Sharing knowledge is very important to understand what’s happening in the market and to create a network of professionals that will likely be the the starting point for future business opportunities».
Nicola Strina was in San Francisco representing Bad Jokes Studio, a team of indie developers set in Verona. For Nicola, «GDC is clearly a great occasion to find new partners, investors, publishers and experts in video games development. As a team of indie developers, we focused our attention on publishers that have interest in funding projects. We’ve held several meetings and we’ve also had the possibility to meet other developers working on VR projects and we’ve learned a lot about these new technologies. It’s been our first time for us at GDC and it will not be our last».
The Digital Tales team, whose company, founded in 2006 and based in Milan, has now offices also in Rome and Miami developing games and e-Learning courses combining user-friendly technology and strong graphic appeal, shared some insights through Alessandra Tomasina. «As an Italian independent developer attending GDC in San Francisco, we realized that America is still the land of opportunities and we are glad we could make it and thankful to AESVI and ICE for supporting us in this overseas adventure! This year was all about Virtual Reality and its potential applications in gaming, working and everyday life, once again showing that our ever changing industry is able to constantly come up with groundbreaking technology creating new untapped market niches».
Fabio Ilacqua from Rimlight Studios, specialized in designing and developing high-quality Video Games for console and PC, shared with us the excitement of the first time: «For Rimlight Studios this was the first GDC as an exhibitor. It’s been a great opportunity for us to showcase our game ZHEROS in one of the most important video game events and to meet with fellow developers and create connections with people in the industry. For a small studio like ours it’s really important to be able to be in the front line and this kind of events are perfect to do so and let the world know who we are and the games we’re creating».
As stressed by Meggan Scavio, the General Manager of the Game Developers Conference, the event has become, in the last years, a great opportunity “to learn about and discuss the games and VR experiences that people love.” That’s the reason why companies and participants already marked their calendars for next year, when
the GDC will return to San Francisco’s Moscone Center from February 27 through March 3.