The Call of Culturalization

And Why Game Developers Could Use a Lesson in It

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One of the most widespread assumptions is that in order to launch a successful game in multiple markets, studios just need to focus on having a good translation of the source content. It’s a good start, but there are a multitude of additional factors that developers must take into account when localizing their video game.

One of them is related to the game’s cultural aspects. The culture to which we belong has a strong influence on what we do and how we behave in our daily lives. That affects the way we use software too, and, even more so, the way we interact with a video game. A video game is a form of entertainment in which cultural references to a certain country and culture can be very frequent. The music, the lyrics, the maps, the design of the characters, their clothes, their facial gestures—all of these are components that may have cultural significance the developers must take into account when adapting a video game. In the globalization industry, this process of adaptation is called culturalization.

Culturalization goes one step beyond localization. In the culturalization phase, developers must pay attention to all the different elements that define a culture, spanning from history, religion, beliefs, geography, interpersonal relationships to food and the arts in a given country or region.

In other words, culturalization plays a fundamental role in the hyperconnected world in which we live. Game publishers looking to increase their market share in this highly fragmented space must expand their global reach, especially when over 50 percent of worldwide game revenue comes from non-English speakers.

The culturalization of a video game has two components that can be carried out independently or simultaneously, depending on the objective in each case.

#1: Proactive culturalization

Proactive culturalization is creating content that resonates with local audiences. When players recognize what they see, a much deeper engagement can be built with them. Deeper engagement leads to a better user experience which ultimately leads to greater chances of multiplying monetization and revenue streams for your game.

Examples of proactive culturalization might be a plate of nachos appearing in a resource management master chef type of game that is geo-targeted for Mexico, red colors and East Asian motifs in a game for China, or ninja and manga characters in video games targeting Japan.

#2: Reactive culturalization

Here the objective is to review all the content to make sure that our game is not offending any player. Think of reactive culturalization as an audit where the focus is on reviewing the following 13 areas:

What is culturalization? These are the things to consider when thinking about video games.

Source: Nimdzi Insights

Game culturalization is a series of steps that are executed to increase local player engagement. Auditing the content in this way also provides a good framework to ensure developers are not offending any player by respecting all cultures and personas.

Culturalization in video games is the best recipe to make games easily understandable and enjoyable for players globally. Culturalization is more complex than localization, but when done well, it is more likely to strike a positive chord with audiences.

Nimdzi Finger Food is the bite-sized and free to sample insight you need to fuel your decision-making today.

If you are looking for more recommendations on product culturalization best practices, contact us today to become a Nimdzi Partner and benefit from unlimited Office Hours.
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