Why is Localization so Important?
We’re constantly hearing people ask “What makes localization so important anyway?”. With the video games industry facing into another year of predicted positive growth, and more developers than ever before releasing countless amazing new titles worldwide and breaking deeper and deeper into more diverse markets, we believe there’s never been a better time to answer that question!
The most obvious and immediate benefit of video games localization for developers is that it allows games to reach a far larger audience worldwide. Even for mobile games or MMO games , localizing a game into a wide variety of languages guarantees it a far better chance globally than simply releasing it in the native tongue of the developer – and with gaming becoming more and more popular around the world (for example, South America has seen a 60% year-on-year growth in mobile gaming alone over the last number of years), neglecting to localize a game may be limiting its potential to become a global hit! Let’s not forget also that access to more markets across the world correlates directly with a game’s potential grossing.
Another key point in understanding localization is that it’s so much more than “just translation”. Good quality video games localization takes into account not just the language of the game, but its intricacies and cultural context. So much of localization is wrapped up in knowing not only language, but how certain countries interact with games and what pitfalls of language and phrasing may be pertinent in different markets/audiences. For example, our team of over 100 in-house translators spend a lot of time getting to know the games we work on intimately so that they can provide the most comprehensive translation possible, taking countless linguistic factors into account: phrasing of jokes or puns, colloquialisms, cultural sensitivity and context, and ideas or phrases existing in one language but not another to name but a few.
We have learned also, through our work in community management, that putting in the time and effort to localize video games (not only linguistically, but culturally) has a powerful impact on player loyalty. When a player can fully immerse themselves in a game through their native language, they are far more likely to spend longer periods playing the game or become active in its community.
Closer to home, a well scaled, outsourced localization programme can save developers time, money, and effort. Having a game localized in tandem with the initial development process allows it to be released worldwide simultaneously, rather than countless staggered releases from country to country over a number of months or years. This is especially important for online or mobile games that release updates and patches regularly.
So, there you have it! Why is localization so important? Simple, it not only allows a game to reach wider audiences, but it can also lead to greater player loyalty over longer periods and can even increase a developer’s profits!