2M connects players worldwide with video game localisation solution

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At the start of 2020, it was unknown to anyone that it would be a year of record growth for the gaming industry. As the COVID-19 pandemic ensued, people worldwide found themselves spending a lot more time at home. For many, this meant blowing the dust off their controllers, or business as usual for those seasoned players.

The gaming industry grew 23% in 2020 from the previous year. New research from Newzoo predicts revenue will exceed $200 billion by 2024. This is good news for game developers, as the more the global gaming industry grows, the more opportunities arise.

Game localisation is an incredibly delicate process, involving hours and sometimes even months of hard work before game release. To help pick apart the process, we have created a mini guide below. Ready to become a pro? Keep reading.

What is video game localisation?

In language services, the term 'localisation' refers to adapting UI text or visual elements and even software to the locale of a target market. Localisation goes one step further than translation, taking cultural elements into account.

Considerations include:

  • Language-specific layout
  • Cultural nuances
  • Regional expressions and idioms
  • Image content

As you have probably guessed, localisation is a key element in adapting video games for new audiences. Adapting the game to the target market makes the player experience the game as if it were made specifically for them, and that's exactly the point.

Languages at play

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to think about one of our most commonly asked questions: What languages should I translate into?

Choosing which language and region to target depends on your business goals, but it is worth looking at the countries with the highest gaming revenue to understand the latest trends. The top-player regions show growing revenue opportunities in multiple languages. The Asia-Pacific region is extremely well represented in the numbers, with China, Japan and the South Korea occupying three out of five top revenue centres.

The evidence hints at promising revenue outlooks for developers who opt to localise for any of the top 10 gaming regions.

top video game markets

Source: Newzoo

Australia's Expansion Pack

Last month, the Australian Government announced it would inject further funding into Australia's fast-growing gaming industry. Now worth more than Australia's film and music industries combined, the gaming industry has doubled its revenue to $226 million since 2016, according to the IGEA (Interactive Games and Entertainment Association).

Just as well, we are seeing incredible talent emerging on local ground, including 2M's latest gaming clients Blowfish, and Melbourne-based PlaySide Studios, Brisbane-based Witchbeam and Halfbrick (the creators of the infamous Fruit Ninja), who are gaining global traction through game translation.

Screen Australia's incentive to develop the local industry targets independent emerging or small to medium gaming developers with allocated budgets less than $500,000, with a view to transition businesses to compete on a global level. Not all is lost for higher budget games, with the Australian Government offering support through the Digital Games Tax Offset from 1 July 2022.

Developers going global face an added incentive of claiming translation expenses under Austrade's Export Market Development Grants (EMDG), which provides upfront funding to businesses promoting their products overseas.

What is 2M's approach to video game localisation?

2M’s video game localisation services enable game developers, from indie to mainstream, to reach new players. Our approach to captivate players hinges on 3 main steps: Game immersion, translation & localisation, and localisation & UX testing. The length of the process varies for each game, depending on the length of the game itself, as well as the amount of target regions and respective cultural sensitivities that need to be considered.

video-game-localisationCatie in Meowmeowland

Game immersion

Game immersion is where your localisation team plays the video game. This allows them to immerse themselves in the game and fully understand the universe and all its minor intricacies and subtleties.

Pro tip: Provide your localisation partner with a localisation kit that includes any relevant information on the game, such as the backstory, character information, and theme, to ensure your game's atmosphere stays true to its story.

Translation & localisation

A video game translator’s job is to convert a game’s story from one language into another. But before any translation can begin, your localisation partner needs to collect the game’s elements that need translating. You should have an idea of the text you need localising, such as the title screen, menu screens, subtitles, and character dialogue.

Once you extract the text strings from the game and provide them to your localisation partner, the team will load the strings into a translation management system (TMS).

A TMS automates the management of localisation and translation of language assets. It assists in managing many files at once, while also monitoring workflows and boosting productivity through automated processes.

Smart content adaption is crucial to any localisation effort. Culturalisation includes looking at cultural and geopolitical tensions, historical accuracy, and religious systems and ensuring that your video game is sensitive to these factors. Censorship is a key player in this, where games which depict excessive violence, foul language or religious themes may not be accepted in certain regions. 2M relies on professional translators with deep cultural insights to navigate around such factors and stay on track to seamless localisation.

video-game-localisationWinter Ember

UX testing

Once the in-game elements have been translated, a specialised team of reviewers rigorously test the quality of the localised version. Reviewers run a comprehensive localisation testing sequence, including linguistic, compliance, and user experience quality tests to fully evaluate the game’s usability and appropriateness for the target market(s).

Multiple tests take place at this stage to ensure that the translated content appears in the right place, that the UI works for longer translations, and that font and date formats have been correctly localised.

Entering a world of opportunity

Professional localisation creates an interactive story for global players to immerse themselves in, leading to product exposure and greater global engagement with your business.

Let 2M create a personalised solution for you to expand your fanbase. Get in touch here.

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