Game Localization – Breadth vs. Depth

So far, we have established the basics of game localization. We talked about what game localization is, the history of game localization, the ideal game localization team, etc. Today, we would like to dive even deeper into localization and tackle the topics of localization depth and localization breadth.

Localization Breadth vs. Localization Depth

What do localization depth and breadth mean? It’s not actually that hard to comprehend. In the simplest terms, localization depth is about going deep while localization breadth is about going wide with your content.

When you give more importance to localization breadth, you try to localize your game into as many languages as you can. Your localization does not have to be full and you don’t have to localize each and every text when you prefer the localization breadth strategy. The important thing is to include as many languages as you can and just localize the essentials, such as UI, game guide, description of the game, etc.

If you prioritize localization depth, you are interested in how much content you localize in each language rather than the quantity of the languages. However, by not going as “wide” as you can, you lose the possibility of reaching new markets and making your game global. 

Managing the Localization Budget

Let’s say you have a certain budget for your game localization, and this budget covers only four languages if you want full localization. Yet if you prefer partial localization, you can go up to ten languages. Especially if your game is new, it might be extremely important to go with ten languages because you get to reach more markets and more players. You can also prefer to rank the markets you want to enter by their potential and adjust the localization percentage for each language according to that ranking.

video game localization

Minimal Game Localization

Remember how we talked about the term “box and docs localization” in The Evolution of Game Localization? Developers and publishers realized that even by localizing the box and documents of the game, they appealed more to their target audience and generated more revenue. Would you download a game that didn’t even have a description in your own language in the app store? This is why localization breadth should be your priority. When you prefer localization breadth over depth, you increase player loyalty, playing time, and purchasing intent through language support.

Determine Your Localization Strategy

However, we are also aware that each game is unique and may necessitate different strategies when it comes to localization. Your focus should be on your needs as a developer or publisher. You might want to enter specifically in a certain market, and in that case, it would be sensible to put all your budget towards one language. Localization depth also helps players experience immersive gameplay.

Yet if your main purpose is to make your games more popular in the global market, you should try to localize into as many languages as you can. Supporting a lot of languages can be important for your brand’s image as well. No matter what strategy you adopt, it is crucial to conduct research on the target markets to see which one they would prefer since players are the most important component of this process.

Written by
Ecenaz Batur
Marketing Specialist

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