4Side, an Italian distributor with strong ties to Activision Blizzard, launched today and will go live as a business in March 2020.
4side is primarily owned by tech distributors Esprinet (with a 51% share) and will seek to bring a competitive edge to the game distribution market in Italy. As MCVUK note, the Italian game distribution market is “notably uncompetitive,” with Digital Bros, the parent company of 505 Games, dominant.
The general manager of 4side, Paolo Chisari, alluded to the unequal distribution market when launching the new company. “If I’m honest, the current distribution landscape in Italy is not ideal,” he told MCV. “It’s not a great situation to have one company pushing out 90 titles a year, let’s say, as well as accessories and other products, while another company has just three titles a year.”
Chisari went on to highlight ways in which 4side could redress the balance and provide a stronger service to publishers. By focusing on supporting a smaller roster of games the company could ensure that every game receives the support it deserves, he noted. Chisari also highlighted the difficulty of managing the credit limit of customers in Italy when pushing too many games – another area in which 4Side may outperform Digital Bros.
Chisari himself may be one of 4Side’s biggest assets. As former senior director general manager Italy at Activision Blizzard he has first hand experience of publishing. Chisari has also been the president of Italian games trade association AESVI and is well known by key players in the Italian market.
The early prospects of 4side should be boosted by a strong association with Activision Blizzard, Chisari’s previous employers. 4Side have signed a four-year partnership agreement with Activision Blizzard and will handle the physical distribution of their products in Italy.
Chisari will hope to add other leading publishers to 4Side’s roster in the coming months to help the company achieve its goal of becoming “one of the leading distributors in the world of entertainment.” The company will be present at this year’s Gamescom as they seek to build a presence within the industry.