In recent years localizing video games has become one of the essential strategies for reaching more players worldwide. The rapid growth of technology networks, the sophistication of today’s mobile phones and their increased affordability have made it easier for millions of people to access the Android and iOS app stores.
While nowadays many games publishers know that localization is the key to opening the door to international markets, there are still those who overlook another important process when designing a truly global game: culturalization.
Let’s start with some theory first to understand why localization and culturalization are different.
Localization is the process of adapting a game’s content to a target locale’s language, legal and format requirements (currency, date and font among other parameters). However, video game localization cannot be accomplished without its other counterpart—culturalization.
“Culturalization is going a step further beyond [simple] localization as it takes a deeper look into a game’s fundamental assumptions and content choices, and then gauges the viability in both the broad, multicultural marketplace as well as in specific geographic locales. [Simple] localization helps gamers simply comprehend the game’s content (primarily through translation), but culturalization helps gamers to potentially engage with the game’s content at a much deeper, more meaningful level.” - The Game Localization Handbook, 2nd edition
We all know how quickly the video game industry has grown into a worldwide market. We also know how important localization and cultural adaption is for companies seeking to go global. But what is the best way to integrate language technology into game development? What technologies are available and which ones are the best?
With people forced to sit at their homes because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global games market is getting stronger.
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.