Localization is an umbrella term, and it is typically integrated into multiple subcategories specific to the item you are planning to localize. The said item can be anything ranging from a website, a web application, and a mobile application among others.
However, while these localization options have been grabbing the internet by storm, another popular option to join the list is game localization services.
Huge revenue possibility is one of the main reasons why game developers focus on localizing games. It enables them to add more visibility to the product, wherein people across the globe can access it. In the following sections, we will discuss game localization services in detail and figure out how it works.
Game Localization: a Lowdown
In the simplest terms, game localization services refer to customizing mobile games and other video games to match the preferences of a specific region. It means that the language or some characters of the game may be altered to suit the local audience taste. As part of game localization, you can expect the following:
- Art asset customization
- Changing or tweaking the strategy for monetization
- Customizing the audio, the overall game design, and color palette among others
- Reviewing local culture and ensuring that the game meets all requirements
- Performing hardware changes
- Making certain areas of the game inaccessible in different countries as needed
Usually, localization services help with content translation and cultural adaptation, while developers in your team help with coding and all the internal changes.
Why should we Localize Games?
Whether you are a game developer or an enthusiast, probably, you are wondering why games need to be localized in the first place. Well, one of the main reasons behind this is to add more visibility to the game such that it has a global presence.
Even before a company decides to localize its game, they review the economic parameters because a new region comes with multiple market-specific factors.
When a game is localized, it appears more professional and engaging to the end-user. Moreover, as the game is in a local language, foreigners can easily understand it. The gameplay is extremely native, and therefore, it is open to tweaking only gets better.
Over the last couple of years, game localization has also turned out to be quite profitable. According to Statista, China, which is the biggest video game unit across the globe, generates a lot of profit from the gaming industry. Thanks to localization more individuals from the Asia Pacific region are now drawn to gaming.
According to Newzoo reports, China has a booming gaming industry worth 46 billion, and its active user base is close to 660 million. The United States is much behind of only 192 million players.
Does game Localization have any Challenges?
As with everything else, game localization comes with its own challenges. In this section, we will take a closer look:
One of the issues with localizing games is accommodating the texts of varying sizes on small screen sizes. We recommend leaving ample space options for complex languages like German and/or Russian to avoid space crunch.
You might also want to copy-edit your game text to weed out filler content.
Text in core files
Avoid hard coding any form of game text in your core gaming file, as people might review it while reviewing the source code as you proceed to translate the text. The solution? Make sure the text is stored as a variable in dedicated resource files.
Because you are localizing a game, you need to be especially wary of the culture you are doing it for. If you live in Europe, you are probably familiar with a bunch of cultural symbols that may not be appropriate for an Arabic audience.
As with the game elements, you need to focus on the colors and ensure they are relevant to the region where you are localizing games. A familiar example would be China, where red is deemed an auspicious and happy color. However, the same color is perceived as dangerous in the Western part of the globe.
Sometimes a basic translation does not do justice to the game. It might be accurate, but still, it sounds flat. Therefore, you need to transliterate the copy instead of a mere translation. Try to capture the audience’s emotions so that the game text is engaging and relatable.
It is yet another thing you want to consider before localizing games. Not every audience has the same purchasing power. And that is why you need to understand these analytics better before you step into a market. Regardless, the majority of the end-user enjoy free games or games with ads compared to premium games that you would find in China.
That is why it is crucial to understand the nooks and corners of the market to be well aware of the different ways you can monetize the game. It will help you make the most of your game, even in a foreign culture.
It goes way back to transliteration, where we discussed flat-translated text that is accurate to read but lacks a soul. It usually happens because most translators are clueless about the game. Over time, the translation can be inaccurate. Thus, it can leave a negative mark on your entire product.
You want to avoid this issue, and so you should disseminate more details about the game to the translator. You might want to create extensive glossaries, text style guides, lengthy plot summaries, interactive videos, and any other resource that would inform you about the game.
To simplify this otherwise lengthy procedure, you might want to leverage translation management solutions that come with in-built thesauruses and dedicated tools for translation memory.
While localization comes with its challenges, it is clearly one of the best ways to move forward in the gaming industry. Do not overlook it because the right localization campaign will leave you with a vivid user base and, therefore, higher profit.