Leveling Up Gaming: The Intricate Process of Video Game Localization
The mobile and video game market has exceeded a market volume of $206.5 billion as of 2023. Many agree that this feat would not have been possible without localization efforts in the international gaming market, allowing games to be fully enjoyed and understood by the global audience of enthusiasts.
However, this process can be easier said than done — which is why it’s so important for developers and creators to build localization opportunities at every step in their process.
Below, we’re going to be exploring video game localization as a concept, the complexities and considerations that should be made, and the role that a comprehensive translation management system (TMS) can play in your global expansion strategy.
The Concept of Video Game Localization
Video game localization is the process of preparing a video game or related content for successful launch and consumption in other countries. This generally requires more than savvy game developers and a translation team. Instead, it should be a priority that is considered through every phase of design and via every team. Doing this allows for a higher overall level of quality assurance in the end product (among other benefits).
Since the global game industry has grown so much over the past decade, many companies are inherently focusing on expansion in their production line — leading to inherent, team-wide, accessible localization strategy elements that are a part of the business’s video game localization strategy.
Accessibility isn’t the only benefit or positive for gamers in other countries. Beyond the ability of a localization team to quickly scale business profits, they’ll also be able to secure higher levels of customer retention — boosting brand awareness, perception, and authority in a respective gaming niche.
We want to note that this type of brand loyalty can be absolutely invaluable, especially for mobile game developers and other smaller gaming brands. There have been thousands of games that come and go, with many failing to provide high-quality translations. This poor user experience results in premature market failure and the inability to expand into new markets, which could cause the death of a business. Localization tools are one of your best defenses against customer attrition, “boredom” and limited expansion risks.
The Complexities of Video Game Localization
There are many different complexities and considerations to make throughout the process of localizing a game’s content. We’ve summarized the top three below:
Cultural differences can limit a game’s success. For example: A game with more mature or lewd-oriented content may not perform as well in more conservative regions (such as Korea or Lebanon) as we would see in more accepting or receptive countries — such as America or Japan.
If developers fail to acknowledge these cultural expectations and differences that could be found in their game content, it could limit their ability to sell and positively impact a given global region.
To avoid this, all members of the production team (including project managers, developers, cultural experts, translators, and specialists should work to immerse themselves in the culture of a target market. They can then walk through the gaming experience (and, comparatively, the localized game experience) to assess the degree of difference and determine if the gameplay would currently suit culturally-aligned standards.
Dialogue nuances should be evaluated by dialect before finalizing translation in a target language. For example: There is no singular “Chinese” language for the citizens of China as a country. There may be several different dialects to consider — and omitting this step in the production process could limit the game’s success in a targeted region.
Having a go-to “localization kit” of tools, gameplay, areas to address and marketing assets to explore can streamline the process of swapping cultural references and adding video game translation nuance, as teams can simply hand the assets in the localization kit over to the marketing and translation team.
Many video games may have technical constraints that prohibit identical gameplay across a given region. Developers can avoid this pitfall by making certain elements accessible and considering a range of regionally-specific elements (such as privacy laws, internationalization elements (i.e., the format of time and date stamps), and the syntax of translated text in the actual hard code — such as changes that would allow both left-to-right and right-to-left reading.
Considering these differences found around the world can make localized video game content more accessible in nearly every area.
The Role of Translation Management Systems in Game Localization
Translation management systems are invaluable to the video game translation process, localization project elements, and internationalization efforts. While other service provider platforms and in-house teams can offer fractional support when it comes to the trio of skills required for a localized version of the game, none are centralized or accessible. That’s where a translation management system can come in.
This convenient platform can offer string management to your development team, related to the localization process. It can also connect you with other critical game localization services, such as translation and proofreading.
It can then house all efforts related to the process, allowing your team to work more efficiently and cost-effectively — rolling out versions in a range of languages (such as English, Spanish, Japanese, French, German, and more.
Unleashing the Power of OneSky in Video Game Localization
If you’re looking to expand your game beyond the Western market, you should consider localization — the process of preparing content to resonate across different regions, different languages, and different contexts. A strong localization strategy and a comprehensive translation management system are key to helping you do this.
Looking for a place to start? OneSky has the leading TMS tool on the market — connecting you to translators and specialists who serve across 55+ languages and dialects. Our team is here to help you streamline your process and attain rapid growth, no matter what industry you serve.
For more information and to get started today, please connect with us online. We look forward to serving you!