The Italian government has announced that its plans for financial support for businesses during the COVID-19 crisis will include funds for the country's game development studios.
Per a press release sent to Gamasutra, the government has announced the creation of the First Playable Fund, an economic resource aimed at funding the creation of game prototypes and supporting the industry as the country recovers from the initial spread of COVID-19.
The announcement came with support from the country's game industry trade organization, the Italian Interactive Digital Entertainment Association (IIDEA). The government has set aside €4,000,000 for the fund, and will reward between €10,000 and €200,000 per prototype.
IIDEA director-general Thalita Malago noted that the organization has been trying to secure government funding for the country's industry for some time. "We are happy that with the DL Rilancio – or Relaunch Decree - it was possible to take the first step in this direction," he said.
The release provided some interesting context for this government support as well. A survey from the European Game Developer Federation noted that developers from the south of Europe are the most pessimistic about studio survival, which may be a result of both the virus' heavy impact on the region, and a previous lack of government and investor support for an industry that had to go toe-to-toe with companies from other countries.