What is Video Game Localization and Why Should I Care About it?

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If you want to expand your video game to international markets, then video game localization is the best way for you to reach your goal. By localizing your game and adapting it to a new global region, you will increase your sales and broaden your customer base.

Although there are many aspects to localizing your video game, the effort will be worth it.

The Path to Localization

When localizing your game, there are several steps that have to be taken to make the project successful. After you have decided on your target region, here are some of the actions that will be necessary:

  • Translate the game’s script and written text, including the user interface text. This step might seem basic, but accurate translation is vital to a successful localization.
  • Localize all voice-overs in the game so that regional gamers feel a sense of familiarity.
  • Localize all of the elements of the video game’s story, including character names, locations, weapons, graphical elements, and other components that comprise the game. By localizing each of these aspects, the game will feel more realistic and comfortable to the user.
  • Remove or replace culture-specific references that would not be understood by the target audience.
  • Modify the game’s overall look and feel to meet the cultural nuances of the region.
  • Remember to focus on the details, such as localizing date formats, measurement units, and address formats.
  • Localize all technical components, such as text operations and coding, as well as marketing elements, including posters, packaging, and websites.
  • Translate user manuals and other information that will help guide the customer through the gaming experience.
  • If you plan to localize to additional regions at a later time, consider writing your code in a manner that accommodates for various locales, languages, and cultures.

To ensure that all of these facets are achieved in the best way possible, partner with a language services provider that specializes in video game localization.

The Benefits of Localization

Although the localization process will be extensive, the benefits will be worth it. For instance, after the game Defender’s Quest was completely localized in six languages, the game’s sales greatly increased in non-English speaking countries; for the localized Russian version on Steam, sales increased from 5% to more than 11%.

Consider these benefits of localizing your video game:

  • Increasing your sales. When you enter a new global market, your sales will surge. Video games are a huge part of people’s entertainment, and localized games will naturally attract customers in your target region.
  • Increasing the number of downloads. Just like sales will go up, downloads will also increase, causing your game to become even more popular.
  • Maintaining a competitive edge. The more you localize, the better your competitive advantage will be. Think about it this way: While you are localizing, other game creators are not, giving you the edge.
  • Letting your customers know they matter. People appreciate having experiences in their own languages, and gaming is no different.
  • Achieve a higher ranking in the app store. Reaching a higher position means more exposure, which leads to additional sales.

Which Countries Should You Target?

Once you have decided to localize your video game, the most important decision you can make is which country you want to target. To help you decide, here are the top 10 gaming markets, based on their estimated revenue throughout 2020 as ranked by Newzoo: China, the United States, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, and Spain.

When pondering these countries for localization, consider that:

  • In 2018, there were more than 5 billion people playing video games in the Asia Pacific, which propelled the area to have the largest population of video gamers.
  • In 2017, China had one-third of the total gaming revenue across the globe with an estimated $32.54 billion.
  • In 2017, Japan noted the highest game revenue per internet user, and total gaming revenue grew 13% from 2016.

As you decide whether to localize, consider this: the gaming market is expected to surpass $200 billion by 2023. With a surge in growth for the gaming industry, now is an excellent time to branch out and localize your video game.


To increase your video game sales and reach new markets, select a target region and embark on video game localization.

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