What is video game localization

what is localization in video games

Video games are one of the biggest recreational pastimes in the world, with recent estimates suggesting that there are currently nearly 2.7 billion gamers across the globe. The incredible demand in recent years has seen growth skyrocket, and estimates suggest that by 2025 the industry will be worth an astounding $268 billion, up from the $159.3 billion in 2020.

While there can be no denying the popularity of the video game market, effective localization is essential for every video game producer. What is localization in video games, though? How does it work?

To help you, we thought we would take a closer look at what video game localization is and how it benefits not only game producers but players, too.


What is localization in video games?

While the very first video games such as tennis or Tetris might have been simple storylines, modern video games are a truly holistic experience more akin to a feature movie. Games such as Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto, and Call of Duty are truly an in-depth story that takes gaming to completely new levels.

Increasingly becoming more like a Hollywood blockbuster, modern games are highly sophisticated pieces of software. However, the cinematic gameplay, complex dialogue, and real-time interaction mean the game needs to be able to work across multiple markets, languages, and countries.

This is where video game localization is vital, helping to ensure that players around the world are able to enjoy the same experience. Localization makes it feel like the game was made for every region it has been launched in, improving the overall player experience.

What is localization in video games?

While it might seem like a simple enough concept, the actual process of localization is incredibly complex. When it comes to answering the question, “what is localization in video games?” there are many different factors that need to combine to ensure a seamless playing experience for every gamer.

The three most important areas for video game localization are:

1) The in-game story

Video games are becoming a far more complex story that has many interwoven narratives that combine as players work their way through. This helps to keep them engaged, but in order for every gamer to have the same experience, the script and story need to be localized to specific regions.

This means that everything from character names, weapons, and locations should be adapted for the target audience. For example, if the game was set in Russia, then it would not make sense to have a local bar with an English name. Game developers should be working to ensure the script and gameplay are as realistic as possible; otherwise, they risk discouraging players from continuing with the game.

Equally, it is important to remember that names change around the world. For example, while Kim might be a feminine name in America, it is a popular male name in places such as Norway. This might seem like a minor difference against the overall gameplay, but these little nuances are essential in ensuring that the game is able to capture the attention of players.

2) Technical elements

Of course, while the overall gameplay experience is essential, game developers also need to ensure that they are focusing on localizing the many various technical aspects of the game too. One of the biggest areas most commonly overlooked is how dates and times are written, or the units of measurements are displayed.

These are critical components in creating a truly immersive experience for every player. It is also important to consider the space for text and the symbols being used. For example, in Europe, many languages use quite short words apart from German, which traditionally has quite lengthy words. This is something that will need to be considered when adding in subtitles or written wording.

3) Marketing campaigns

When it comes to understanding “what is localization in video games?” it is important to remember that it is not just limited to the actual game itself. In the highly competitive world of modern gaming, marketing campaigns are one of the most important steps to success and begin months, if not years, in advance of the launch.

marketing campaign

However, to truly maximize the commercial appeal of the game, developers need to ensure that they are localizing their marketing campaign. Without doing so, they risk alienating certain audiences and losing a vital opportunity to maximize pre-launch interest in the game.

Localizing your marketing content requires a comprehensive review of all materials. From the images and graphics being used to the language and wording, you want to ensure you are targeting the gaming habits of those players in each region you are launching in. This is also important in other areas of localization like webapps, for this check out this guide on react localization.

Why is video game localization important

When it comes to understanding “What is localization in video games?” it is important to understand the many benefits that it can provide.

1) Boost sales

Focusing on localization and culturalization ensures that gamers are more invested in your game and company. This helps you to launch the game in more regions, significantly boosting the number of players and maximizing your sales.

While video game localization does require time and resource investment, it is a worthwhile process as it ensures you can reach a far greater audience.

2) Increase customer satisfaction

Localization is also a great way to boost customer satisfaction by making them feel important. When they can see that the developer has gone the extra mile to create a seamless experience that feels like it has been specifically developed for them, they become far more invested in the game.

The higher the satisfaction of your players, the more likely they are to share their experience with friends and remain customers for any future games you might release.

3) Stay competitive

As the market continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly more challenging for game developers to stand out from the crowd. This means localization is going to become increasingly more important to remain competitive.

This strategic approach will allow you to branch out into more markets, helping you to become more resilient in the process.

Localizing your video game

What is localization in video games? Well, as the market continues to grow, it is set to become an essential aspect of any game development. While it might not be the first thing that developers think of, focusing on localizing the game from the start can help to make the process far more efficient and effective.

Localization can be a complex process, though, so working with a professional partner can help to ensure that you are able to create the most immersive and engaging experience possible. To make the process more streamlined, you should take the time to plan your project, create a localization kit, and creating quality assurance checks will ensure that your various localization partners know exactly what is required.

The more detailed your localization is, the greater the experience that each player has and the more gamers that will want to engage with your game. With some 2.7 billion players in the world, open your game up to a wider audience today.

Try Locize to make your game incredible

The localization-software of locize helps game companies to easily translate their software-components through an easy interface and while split the development process from the marketing-work. Game localization should keep up with the development of the game. Continuous localization allows you to join several markets practically simultaneously, resulting in shorter translation turnaround times and much-needed velocity.