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Importance of Game Localization. Presented by Saljack Enterprises. Gaming. Media & Entertainment.

Do you wonder how a single game is released in different countries in their respective languages? The process used is called Game Localization. Game localization enables developers to tailor the game experience to match the audience for which it’s intended. Game localization includes everything from translating the game into new languages, to eliminating elements from a game that other cultures might not bear in their entertainment content. It is very necessary to translate and localize your video game in the right way.

Appropriately understand the markets you want to enter: You might have a list of the most profitable gaming industries and markets, but that doesn’t certainly mean your game is appropriate for those markets. You should keep these things in mind:

  • Plan your research: Learn about the gaming industry in all the countries where you want to launch your game, including the popular genres and style of games popular there.
  • Discover if the market has the required money to spend: A country with a wide number of native speakers doesn’t always relate to localization success. Check whether the potential players can afford to buy your game and whether they would spend money for the game purchases.
  • Discuss with local gamers: You’ll gain the best market understanding and feedback by going straight to the gamers. Whether through focus groups, surveys, interviews, in-person or video conferencing. Associating with local gamers can help you decide whether the market is right for you to enter or not.

Pay attention towards the cultural norms: Cultural mistakes can prove to be costly for both video game publishers and developers. It can lead to lost revenue, damage to their corporate image and negative public relations. So carefully pay attention to:

  • Historical Accuracy: History is a constraining topic, so most game creators and developers often relate to the historical events of other cultures to correlate with players. Many cultures are protective towards their historical legacy. By including an inaccurate representation of a historic event, you will open your game to a strong criticism.
  • Religion and Belief Systems: Some games have the source elements of religion within their storylines to add excitement for players, but they don’t understand how these religious references can affect players in another country. It can hinder sales and cause a negative reaction from an entire culture. Smart developers understand how other cultures may be annoyed by sensitive themes, characters or objects within their game.

Localizing a game properly takes some extra work, but if you have a great game that international audiences will love and enjoy, it could be a rewarding attempt.

Have you ever done game localization? Do you have anything to share with us regarding it? Share with us in the comments section!




24 thoughts on “Importance of Game Localization

  1. Quotes Tadka says:

    If you would like to take a great deal from this piece of writing then you have to apply
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  2. chocolate day shayari says:

    This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

  3. salma says:

    i think a programmer has to keep in mind the appeal a game he develops should appeal to the general public. he needs to consider any social implications if any so as not to lose face when criticized about the flow or the background of the game.

  4. betty says:

    this is very true, a great article. i personally don’t like games that are very far fetched in imagination and have no basis in reality. this is because it is hard to understand the flow. whereas when it is based on history or a belief system, the flow is easier to understand.

  5. Celine says:

    I’ve played some games with very funny and literal translations. Sometimes I wish they would just leave it in English. Takes out some of the excitement of the game!

  6. Saleh says:

    I can’t believe there are people here who are unaware about cultural sensitivity.Games, just like movies, must have a universal appeal in order to sell to many different markets/countries. What if you were playing game and then suddenly, your country’s hero or martyr appears wielding a knife and try to attack you? What if in one level of Angry Birds, you see the old World Trade Center Twin Towers? Obviously to win the level, you have to obliterate the buildings. How’s that for cultural insensitivity?

  7. Maury Cheskes says:

    Culture, history and religion must all be very important landmarks in getting your project started. I think it’s also important to try and make new games gender neutral to appeal to a wider audience.

  8. It’s probably a good idea to research your topic before launching a great idea. Giving out online surveys/questionnaires and gathering information on the target audience’s preferences would be a good start in developing your game’s settings.

  9. Elaine says:

    “Game localization enables developers to tailor the game experience to match the audience for which it’s intended” What I think that, when developers create new games, he or she research different cultures and consumers’ preferences. Then the games might be popular in the market.

  10. Amir says:

    I think the genre and the story as well as the interface of the game would be some of the most important & deciding factor before the developer decide to localize the game or not. For example if the game is just a simple fighting game without story line then even if the developer decided not to localize it in my local language, I can still see myself playing it in other language without being bothered that much by the language barrier, However if the game is story-driven and heavily relies on the plot such as RPG then I will never see myself playing it without understanding the language. Same also with the game when the player need to interact a lot with the interface such as simulator games, football manager etc, it would be insane playing it without knowing the language,

  11. Raphael Fabella says:

    It sucks that marketing is vital to game localization for some Japanese games. Don’t get me wrong though, I understand the risks, I mean, why spend and invest in translating a game that you won’t think will sell well in the country that your trying to localize it in? Most companies won’t ever take that risk, and because of that, some really great games won’t be accessible to the Western market. And it’s not just Japanese games either, there are a lot of games out there that will probably never get that popular because they don’t have the funds to make it accessible to other countries (even though said games have a lot of potential to maybe even rival most triple A title games made by other big gaming companies).

  12. Mau says:

    Wow, it looks like game localization takes a lot of work and research! I’m sure it’s worth the effort though. Even if you fail, at least you know what doesn’t work for other countries and you could correct your strategy in the future.

  13. Rebi says:

    Nowadays, games are becoming better and better because they also have this localization, you can see how hard they’ve worked for this games and it’s really selling.

  14. Kyo Kusagi says:

    I do not see this as an issue? since most games are being released overseas. It takes time yes but everyone enjoys it non the less.

  15. Kadoya Tsukasa says:

    Frankly, Yes I know of game exclusivity. But game localization? What is that?

  16. Satish says:

    At this day and age, we should less of this kind of issue. What’s OK for America may not be OK for gamers in India. But what’s worse is for Western gaming companies incorporating cultural/historical aspects of other countries in their games and then doing it all wrong!

  17. Chuck says:

    I’ve read before about some games being banned in other countries because of religious/cultural insensitivity. A good marketing team should be able to address this kind of issue before releasing a game to a particular region. I just wonder how hard it would be to modify a game?

  18. Carlton says:

    Yeah you really have to be careful with that Historical Accuracy. That’s just like using a word that means one thing nice in one country and then in another it’s a total insult! Now that would be a HUGE bummer for a new game release.

  19. Earl K. says:

    Wow there’s so many facets to the gaming industry that anyone who reads your blog will gain an entirely new respect for the gaming industry. All I do is play games and the end product looks just looks so exciting. But I never thought about all the work and planning that goes into the creation of different games until I read your blog. Thank you for the work that you do. Keep bringin the entertainment!

  20. VAGABOND says:


    quick question : who is the author of this article ?

    best reguards,

    1. VAGABOND says:

      also, i would be interested in reading more game localization tips / opinions. this was a good piece / fun read.

      1. Thank you for your comments. We will definitely do our best to accommodate these kind of requests.

    2. Hi Vagabond, we have a technical writer on staff but we also accept original/non-plagiarized submissions from outside authors.

      1. Sam says:

        Ya know I never thought about this. It does make sense to cater the game to the geographic region. After all, people are different and have different jargon, language and custom.

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