Game Localization: Bridging Cultures in the Age of Globalization

I am sure we all heard about the term globalization. Pretty much everybody has an idea about what it is, but what exactly is it and how is it, in any way, related to game localization? Globalization is used to describe the way trade and technology have made our world a more interconnected and interdependent place. Globalization allows the exchange of goods, services, information, ideas, and technology across borders.

globalization in game localizationThe Importance of Adopting Globalization

In the contemporary world, globalization plays a huge role in success and reaching more people. It opens up new markets and opportunities, which in turn leads to growth. And it’s not just limited to economic aspects, it also encompasses culture, politics, and much more. So, it becomes important for game developers and publishers to find themselves a place on a global scale.

Let’s think about really popular game titles: Minecraft, Age of Empires, The Last of Us, etc. Especially after the live-action version of The Last of Us, the game became even more popular than it already was. It became a global phenomenon again, maybe more than it was back when it was first released. The main reason for this was the fact that it was able to reach viewers and players globally. And we all know where I’m going with this: game localization played a big role!

Let’s move on with another example. Minecraft is played all over the world, and this is thanks to localization. The game has been translated into more than 90 languages. Of course, the popularity of this game does not stem from localization, but we cannot deny that it plays a huge role. 21% of Minecraft players are based in the United States, but the second biggest player base is in Brazil!

The Role of Localization in Globalization

Before the rise of globalization, and before the world was as interconnected as it is now, localization was not a necessity. Sure, if you localized your game or product, that would shoot you ahead. But still, I’d say it wasn’t a must; however, you need to localize your game at least into a couple of languages to make a global impact in today’s world because globalization doesn’t mean that one single language dominates the global market.

Thanks to globalization, people all around the world can have a glimpse into other cultures. This fosters empathy, understanding, and peace. And although we talk about culturalization while explaining different aspects of game localization, localization does not equal erasing every culture-specific bit of the game. It depends completely on the game. But how do we adapt to different cultures and regions?

Tips for Adapting to Different Regions

1- You need to invest in comprehensive localization that encompasses not only the texts but also cultural elements and references.

2- You need to understand different regions and their preferences. What works in one region may not work in another, and thorough research is required to be successful, especially in regions that are different from your own.

3- Communicating with local subject matter experts is crucial. Be it localization agencies or translators, it’s important to get their insight.

4- Complying with local regulations is important. Be aware of restrictions and make sure that your game is appropriate for the target audience.

Effectively adapting to different regions ensures that your game not only reaches a diverse audience but also resonates with players on a local and personal level. There are more points we can make, but these four are the most important. It may look confusing and hard to understand, or it might be hard for you to examine and become an expert on each region. This is where game localization agencies can help. Working with an expert game localization agency makes this process go much smoother.

Written by
Ecenaz Batur
Marketing Specialist

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