In the ever-evolving landscape of the gaming industry, one key strategy has become increasingly essential for developers seeking global success: game localisation. As the world becomes more interconnected, and developers strive to create captivating and immersive gaming experiences, the demand for high-quality, culturally adapted gaming experiences is on the rise.
Game localisation, the process of translating and adapting a game for different markets, goes beyond mere linguistic conversion. It is a comprehensive approach that considers cultural nuances, regional preferences, and user expectations.
In this blog post, we delve into seven compelling reasons why game localisation should be a top priority for developers in today’s competitive gaming landscape and how it can open doors to untapped markets and foster a truly global gaming community.
1. Broadening Market Reach
Perhaps the most obvious yet crucial reason for game localisation is the ability to expand market reach. By tailoring a game to various languages and cultures and ensuring the content resonate with players around the world, developers can break down linguistic barriers and make their creations accessible to a wider audience. Localisation ensures that gamers worldwide can fully engage with a game, leading to increased downloads, purchases, and sustained player interest. When gamers can engage with a title in their native language, they are more likely to invest time and money into the game, contributing to its overall success.
Of the over 8 billion people in the word, approximately 1.5 billion speak English, but only around 400 million are native speakers.
Whereas in the past it was common to develop games in English, this highlights the vast potential for reaching non-English-speaking audiences through game localisation. By tailoring content to different languages, developers can tap into the immense gaming market beyond English-speaking regions.
2. Maximising Revenue Potential
The financial benefits of game localisation are undeniable. Data consistently shows that localised games have a higher revenue potential compared to their non-localised counterparts. The ability to connect with players on a cultural and linguistic level fosters a sense of loyalty and engagement. This translates into not only increase sales, but also player spending on in-game purchases, subscriptions, and other monetisation models as players are willing to invest in their gaming experience.
Let’s break this down.
The gaming community spans continents, and the numbers are staggering. Just look at the number of players per region in 2023:
Imagine how much untapped potential there is in these markets. In fact, this is how much they were worth in 2023:
The numbers speak for themselves – the global gaming market is worth billions, with each region contributing significantly.
Localisation will give you access to these markets and their revenue potential, especially taking into account that players overwhelmingly prefer localised games. In countries such as China and Japan, almost all of the top-selling games are in the native language, as a result of a combined strong preference for games in their own language and the general low level of English. And this is the case in a huge number of countries around the world. Even markets like Germany or the Netherlands, with a higher level of English, prefer games in their own language. After all, localisation is much more than translating words, it’s about engaging and immersing the players in the experience and truly connecting with them.
Looking at these figures it’s quite clear that game localisation is not merely an added expense; it’s a strategic investment to maximise revenue potential, with a huge return on investment. Developers who recognise the immense opportunities presented by the diverse gaming markets across Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East-Africa will genuinely connect with players, fostering engagement, loyalty, and ultimately, increased revenue.
3. Overcoming Language Barriers
Language barriers can be a significant obstacle to a game’s success. Localisation bridges this gap by providing translations that go beyond mere linguistic conversion. It involves adapting idioms, jokes, and colloquialisms to ensure that the humour and nuances of the original content are preserved. Overcoming language barriers not only fosters better communication between the game and its players but also prevents misunderstandings that could compromise the player’s experience.
4. Enhancing User Experience
Successful game localisation is more than just accurate translation; it’s about creating an immersive experience that resonates with players on a cultural level. Localising graphics, audio, and even gameplay elements to align with the expectations of different regions enhances user experience. A game that feels native to a particular audience is more likely to capture their attention and keep them engaged. From adjusting character names to incorporating culturally relevant references, these details contribute to a seamless and enjoyable gaming experience.
5. Cultural Sensitivity and Avoidance of Offense and Embarrassment
Games are a form of art, and just like any other artistic medium, they are deeply influenced by cultural elements. Navigating cultural nuances is an integral aspect of game localisation. What may be acceptable or even celebrated in one culture might be offensive or misunderstood in another.
Cultural sensitivity in localisation ensures that games do not inadvertently promote stereotypes, use inappropriate language, or include content that may be offensive to specific audiences. Avoiding these pitfalls not only protects a game’s reputation but also demonstrates a commitment to respecting the diverse perspectives of players worldwide.
In addition, localisation ensures that the game’s narrative, characters, and settings remain culturally relevant and relatable to players in different regions. This level of cultural adaptation enhances the overall immersion, allowing players to connect with the storyline on a more personal and meaningful level.
Also, by working with an expert localisation partner, you will ensure you don’t end up in the list of worst translation fails in videogame history. Because nobody wants to be remembered by something like this…
6. Don’t Get Left Behind
In the dynamic gaming industry, staying competitive is crucial for a game’s success. With competitors recognising the value of game localisation, it has become a standard practice to ensure global appeal. Gamers worldwide now expect a level of accessibility that goes beyond language translation. To remain relevant and competitive, developers must acknowledge that localised content is not just a luxury but a necessity. Failure to do so may result in losing significant market share to competitors who have already embraced game localisation as a means of connecting with a global audience.
In many markets, most of the top-selling games are in the local language. If you don’t localise your game, there will be others ready to take your place and get a piece of the gaming pie.
7. Building Community Engagement
Beyond expanding market share and generating revenue, game localisation is a powerful tool that fosters a sense of community among players worldwide and increases player loyalty. When gamers see that developers have taken the time to understand and cater to their cultural context, it creates a positive connection. This connection goes beyond the screen, spurring community engagement, word-of-mouth marketing, and loyalty. A well-localised game becomes a bridge between different cultures, uniting players who share a passion for the virtual worlds created by developers.
In a globalised gaming industry, localisation is not merely a box to check, it’s an imperative, a strategic move that goes beyond increasing sales. It’s about building a gaming community. From breaking language barriers to respecting cultural sensitivities, game localisation is the key to unlocking untapped markets, maximising revenue, and building a truly global gaming community. Developers who embrace localisation as an integral part of their strategy position themselves not only for short-term success but also for a sustained and expansive impact on the world of gaming. As technology continues to connect us in unprecedented ways, the importance of game localisation will only grow, ensuring that players from every corner of the globe can fully immerse themselves in the magic of gaming.