There are over 2 billion gamers across the globe, with a spend of over $135 billion on games but only 27% of the world speak English as first languages In order to tap into the 70% global market, you have to tailor your game experience to the needs of gamers on a global level.
Game localization is the process of adapting your game into multiple languages to meet the needs of players in a different geographic region. It includes translating game text, adapting art assets, testing the integration of the translated text into the game and adopting local censorship laws.
Top 5 languages you should consider localizing your games:
China remains the number one gaming market by revenues and by the number of players. China alone will account for more than 25% of all global game revenues, reaching over $37 billion this year.
The gaming market in China is competitive and number one gaming market by internet friendly population, revenue and by the number of players. The Chinese economy is growing at a rate like no other and as Chinese workers’ wages rise, so does their interest in all kinds of video games.
The Japanese gaming market is the third-largest in the world (behind the US & China), and birthplace of modern video games. It’s growing +15.1% year on year to $19.2 billion and home of video game giants such as SEGA, Sony and Nintendo.
In fact, Japanese gamers spend most of any country, particularly for mobile games. The average spend per payer in Japan is 1.5 times higher than in North America, and more than 2.5 times higher than in Western Europe. With a large population of “paying” gamers, Japanese translations should be a part of your localization strategy.
Korean is the official language of North Korea and South Korea with over 80 million speakers across the world and 48 million internet population in South Korea. with over 28.9 million players and a spend of over $5.6 billion in 2018, makes it the world’s 4th biggest games market.
German the most widely spoken and (co-) official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein.
Germany is the largest economy in Europe with the largest population of any country in the European Union. It also happens to be the largest market for video games on the continent with the maximum number of internet friendly population. Most Germans read English well, but having a German language option will make working with the local audience easier and faster in the games market.
Another language into which you should localize your game is Spanish ( Neutral ) and having your game available in Spanish gives you a head start. This is a no-brainer since Spanish is the 3rd most spoken language and dominates Central and South America. Top 5 Spanish countries with highest gaming revenues are Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile are the countries that you should start to tap into the video game industry.
As simple as the process may sound, you should associate with companies providing professional “game localization services” who understand game terminology and are also linguistic experts.
If you are interested to learn more about the game internationalization, the game translation process, different review methods, please check the course “Introduction to Game Localization”.
Here is a my quick video showing Top 5 languages for “game localization“.