A Guide for Game Devs to Reaching New Markets and Boosting Profits

The global gaming industry is booming, with millions of gamers worldwide. To unlock the power of this market, it’s essential to invest in localization. By making your game available in different languages and catering to different regions, you can attract new players and increase revenue. Localization ensures that gamers can enjoy your game in their native language, making it more relevant and accessible.

In this post, we’ll explore the factors that determine the cost of a localization project and highlight some successful examples of video game localization.

Examples of Successful Game Localization

One of the most successful examples of game localization is “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” The game was localized into 10 languages, including French, German, and Spanish. The localization team kept cultural references, humor, and voice acting consistent with the target language, enhancing the player’s experience.

You can change the voice language in the settings

Factors that Determine the Cost of a Localization Project

Before embarking on a localization project, it’s essential to determine which content to localize and which languages to target.

The cost of a project depends on several factors, including who conducts the localization, the target market and language(s), the timeline, the technicality of the subject matter, the content type, and supportive assets.

Who Conducts the Localization?
The biggest driver of cost depends on who you choose to use for the localization. From an in-house team to freelancers, machine translations to professional language service providers, these solutions are available at various price points.

For instance, when Square Enix localized “Final Fantasy XII” for the international market, they opted to use a professional localization team to maintain high-quality translations and voice acting across the board.

The Target Market and Language(s)
Many markets have more than one prominent language and/or dozens of dialects, making it essential to take these nuances into account during localization. Additionally, some languages are more expensive than others due to the country’s cost of living or the availability of skilled linguists.

For instance, Blizzard Entertainment hired a dedicated team of in-house translators to localize “World of Warcraft” into 10 different languages, including Russian, Korean, and Chinese.

Timeline
Deadlines will significantly impact the cost of a project, and quick turnarounds can lead to higher costs. Taking the time to research and localize properly can help avoid mistakes and improve the overall quality of the game.

For example, when Sony Computer Entertainment localized “Shadow of the Colossus” for the European market, they took the time to adjust the game’s difficulty and optimize its graphics to better suit the target audience.

Technicality
The complexity of the subject matter will impact a project’s price point. For example, a game with medical content full of technical jargon will require additional terminology research and cost more than generic scripts. Take the case of “Plague Inc.,” a game that simulates the spread of a deadly virus.

The game’s localization team had to work closely with epidemiologists to ensure the accuracy of medical terms and disease names.

The technicality of Plague Inc.

Content Type
Different types of content require varying levels of effort and expertise to translate properly. The five main groups of content in video games are on-screen text, on-screen art, cinematics, marketing, and legal.

For example, the team behind “Overwatch” had to localize not only the game’s on-screen text but also its marketing and legal content to ensure consistency across all channels.

Supportive Assets
Additional assets, such as style guides, glossaries, or term bases, can help improve the quality and consistency of your localization project. These resources provide clarity for teams across markets and ensure that your game’s voice and style remain consistent across different languages.

For instance, when Mojang Studios localized “Minecraft” into multiple languages, they created a comprehensive style guide to ensure consistency in their translations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, localization is a critical factor in making your game a success in foreign markets. By taking the time to properly localize your game, you can improve the player experience, expand your audience, and increase profits.

Investing in localization can be expensive, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a long-term investment that can pay off in the form of increased revenue and player engagement. To make sure your localization project is a success, it’s essential to work with a professional language service provider with experience in the gaming industry.

With the right team and strategy in place, you can unlock the potential of the global gaming market and take your game to the next level.