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Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Invest In Video Game Localisation

Published on June 10th, 2022

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Localisation is one of the fastest-growing trends in the gaming industry right now, boosted by the Covid-19 gaming boom and increasing global market for console, mobile and online gaming.

The industry finds itself in a place where Japan is now the fastest-growing market for US gaming giant Xbox (as reported via IGN) and Romanian developer Amber reports a 56% increase in turnover, thanks to its refined localisation strategy. Gamers are spending more on localised experiences than ever before, so if you don’t have a comprehensive translation strategy yet, now is the time to invest in game localisation.

The Covid-19 gaming boom lives on

The gaming industry was one of the few winners during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic with much of the world implementing lockdowns and other measures that forced people to spend more time at home.

This drove a gaming boom in 2020, but the expected decline as the world emerged from lockdowns was milder than expected. In other words, gaming revenue remains higher in the post-Covid world and market reports predict impressive numbers for the years ahead.

Global gaming revenue is expected to surpass $200 billion (£163bn) for the first time in 2022, with the US overtaking China as the top gaming revenue market. Console gaming is the top growth driver globally, followed by mobile gaming, which is the top driver in certain markets – e.g. in Indonesia with 111 million gamers.

As the gaming market continues to expand, it becomes increasingly multilingual with the five biggest-spending countries including China, South Korea, Japan and Germany, aside from the US. That means only one of the top five markets is a native English-speaking country, but the US also has a major Spanish-speaking population (41.7m) and a range of other foreign-speaking communities, including Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese; reportedly 3.4m), Philippine (Tagalog; reportedly 1.7m), Vietnamese (1.5m) and Arabic (1.2m).

In other words, the gaming market is truly multilingual and the only way to maximise reach and revenue is to invest in game localisation.

Quality game localisation is now expected

Video game localisation has progressed immensely over the past decade and the industry has reached a point where quality localisation is now expected. Although we are not at the stage yet where the majority of releases are localised for all major markets, the quality of localisation produced by major names like Nintendo and EA have raised the bar of expectation among gamers.

When browsing the gaming topics of websites like Reddit, the existence of many threads asking for recommendations like ‘Japanese games where the English dub is as good as/superior to the Japanese VO’ becomes evident straightaway.

Expectations from gamers in the top markets (US, China, South Korea, etc.) and the world’s largest language populations (Mandarin, Spanish, English, Hindi, etc.) are higher than ever.

Games that deliver excellent experiences in the native language of these markets are lauded for their efforts. Now, we see gaming communities specifically seeking out quality gaming localisation, such as English speakers looking for the best localised Japanese titles or Spanish-speaking communities searching out the titles with the best Spanish translations (article in Spanish).

When reading the comments between gamers, you can see how much they care about the quality of experiences, translation and localisation. The debates can get intense too, which illustrates how much passion gamers have for seeking out the best game localisation experiences.

Translation technology has matured

Every year, the challenges of gaming translation become progressively easier as technology matures. A range of tools is currently available powered by automation, machine learning and other technologies that help translators complete tasks faster and on a bigger scale – without sacrificing quality.

Here are some of the most important types of translation technology we use for many projects including gaming and iGaming ones:

Translation management system:

This can be viewed as ‘the control centre’ for your translation projects, giving you a 360 degree overview of your projects and allowing you to keep track of their progress.

Machine translation (with or without post editing):

This provides our gaming translators with instant first drafts for content so they can check, edit and approve translations faster.

Translation memory:

An automated system that stores every translated sentence and automatically inserts the same translations where repetition occurs, saving our translators from repeating the same work.

Terminology management:

A database of technical or specialist terms that specifies the correct translation, ensuring linguistic consistency throughout your project.

For game developers, this means you get more translation for your time and money. On the one hand, gaming translation has never been more affordable and, on the other, gaming companies can afford to be more ambitious with their gaming translation projects by targeting a wide range of language markets.

If feel ready to invest in your video game localisation for your next game releases, you can speak to the Jackpot Translation here at translate plus by calling us on +44 (0)20 7324 0950 or filling out the form on our contact page.

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Posted on: June 10th, 2022