How Can Localization Improve Game Reviews and Boost Visibility?

Let’s say you wanted to purchase a particular product online. You found it, you liked it, it seemed to have everything you were looking for. Right before buying it, you decide to check out a couple of reviews, just to see what other people have to say about it but shockingly, all you see is terrible review after terrible review. All of a sudden your excitement turns into disappointment, as you see hordes of users complaining about the product, and how terrible the quality is. 


How Game Reviews Work


You see, the same works for video games. Nowadays, news spread fast, and so do reviews, both good and bad.


If you are a game developer, you wouldn’t want your video game to be known for how bad its reviews are, as they are pretty difficult to get them off of it. You might think that a captivating story, amazingly written characters and insane graphics might be enough, but what if we told you that up to 16% of video game reviews mention language?


Fortunately for you, there is a solution. We present you Video Game Localization!


Video game localization is the process of adapting video games for different audiences not only linguistically, through accurate translation, but also culturally. This process ensures not only that video games are accessible to different audiences with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, but also engaging, immersive and fun. 


When done correctly, localization can make a video game feel native to each of the targeted audiences, fostering loyal fan bases and great public reception. If done poorly however, or not done at all, it can really break the game and hinder player experience, and before you know it you’ll find yourself swamped with negative reviews about language.


The Impact of Positive Game Reviews


Positive reviews have a huge impact on your game’s perception and visibility. In today’s world, where social media and YouTube are part of our daily life, positive reviews travel very rapidly. Think about how fast your video game’s name will travel around the globe, thanks to positive reviews. Like it or not, humans are heavily influenced by other people’s opinions, and word of mouth plays a huge role in the way we approach decisions.


Positive game reviews can also help with something indie game developers usually struggle with, which is marketing and promotion. Aside from generating a positive word of mouth effect, which is an incredible marketing tool in itself, positive game reviews can attract social media influencers and YouTubers.


Apart from free marketing, positive game reviews have a significant role in online store placement. 


It is worth mentioning that on Steam for example, where most users aren’t native English speakers, the algorithm will recommend games based on the user’s language preference. 


Additionally, high quality localization, for many players, symbolizes care and attention towards their language and culture, creating a strong bond between the game and the players, which will often result in loyalty towards your brand. As a matter of fact we’ve mentioned in another blog the importance of localization for customer retention.


The Impact of Negative Game Reviews


Just as good game reviews can draw attention towards your video game, so can bad game reviews, but in that case for the wrong reasons. Negative game reviews can be a pretty hard stain to clean, potentially leaving your reputation scarred. 


If you want your video game to be famous, you would want it for good reasons, right?


Negative reviews not only can have an impact on your reputation, but can significantly hurt your video game’s position in online stores. Although not the only factor online stores consider, bad ratings do have an impact on game recommendations. Be honest, between a positive review and a negative, which one will impact you the most? 


Usually, the answer is negative. Online customers tend to give more weight and importance to negative reviews. By addressing localization and ensuring that your video game resonates with your audiences culturally and linguistically, you can minimize the likelihood of negative feedback related to language. 


How to Avoid Negative Localization Reviews


The answer is obvious. Invest in comprehensive and culturally sensitive localization. If you are wondering how you can do it, you are in the right place, here are some tips to follow.


Avoid Machine Translation

Machine translation lately is being advertised as this incredible tool for accurate, fast and cost-effective translation, but in reality it’s still very far from achieving the quality and the effectiveness of human translation. Your best option, even if perhaps a little more expensive, is to go for professional localization providers. They will provide unmatched adaptation to your video game, helping you connect with the audiences you are targeting. 


Include Localization in the Development Process

Including localization in the development process, as soon as the early stages of the development process, will not only increase the quality of the adaptation, but also limit countless hiccups that may occur down the line, such as bugs caused by the localization.


Test Extensively in Target Markets 

Before release, conduct extensive testing with target audiences to gauge reactions and obtain feedback. This can help identify any overlooked issues, bugs, inappropriate content, and generally it ensures that the final product is ready for release.


Prepare Localization Kit

Preparing a localization is extremely easy, but indispensable for translators and localizers. A localization kit is a series of instructions, information, visual reference and descriptions about the material that is going to get translated. Localizing or translating is extremely difficult for translators when they have zero information about the source material. Things like context, characters’ descriptions, setting’s information are extremely valuable for translators, and ensure that the localization process doesn’t become a guessing game.


Your Goal Should Be To Be Famous, Not Infamous.


There’s an old saying, can’t remember who exactly said it, but it goes “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, but unfortunately there is. Ultimately gamers can be the most loyal fan base, but once you get on their bad side, you’re in for a real treat, they don’t forget. Your goal should be to provide them with accurate translations, and seamless adaptation, ensuring that the gaming experience is consistent across multiple languages. Investing in good localization not only is a way to avoid bad reviews, but also to show players that you care about delivering a good, quality product. 


Are you ready to get awsome reviews? Click the button right here and let’s have a chat!

How does poor localization affect a video game?

Poor localization can significantly harm a game’s reputation and player experience, leading to negative reviews and decreased sales.

What are some practical steps to ensure effective localization?

To achieve effective localization, developers should avoid reliance on machine translation, include localization early in the development process, extensively test the game in target markets, and prepare a comprehensive localization kit to aid translators and localizers.

How can good localization strategy benefit indie game developers specifically?

For indie developers, who often face challenges in marketing and promotion, effective localization can act as a powerful tool. It not only improves the game’s acceptance across different regions but also enhances visibility and reputation, attracting positive attention from social media influencers and YouTubers, and helping with better placements in online stores like Steam.