Game Localization Decisions Direct Game Play

Game localization decisions tend to make the business of game playing serous business. Fans, then, do not make the decisions about localization. Instead, the companies, themselves, are the decision-makers. That is because the process can cost a lot of money. Every time localization is undertaken, a company makes a calculated risk.

Game Localization Decisions

Game Localization Decisions

Game Localization Decisions May Lead to Adverse Returns

While fans in another market may want to play a Japanese game, they may not form a large enough segment to make localization worthwhile. That is because localization involves a substantial investment. Some games feature so much content and dialogue that localization becomes costly.

So, when gamers demand that a game cross cultural boundaries, a company must carefully scrutinize the market. They will also review the potential returns. In many instances, high-engagement spaces, such as video games, come with too much risk to make localization possible.

Quality Writing

When making game localization decisions then, companies must examine the total characteristics of a game. Typically, if people are the core of a series, the emphasis is placed on quality writing. As a result, the facets of each character’s personality is revealed.

Therefore, it takes a good deal of effort for a Japanese game of this type to be introduced in the West. Not only must the text be translated, a company has to make the game relatable another audience.

For instance, game localization decisions for one Japanese game were met with a less-than-favorable response. That is because players did not like the change in ethnicity of some of the characters. Not only that, some of the items were censored. However, other Japanese games have retained the culture in their series – all which increases their standing with players around the globe.

Therefore, game developers involved in game localization decisions have made it a goal to keep most of the original content of games intact. However, with respect to Japanese games, some content is primarily exclusive to Japan. Therefore, a translation must be made, in these instances, so other players can understand a game’s dynamics.

Mixing the Familiar with the Unfamiliar

So, in deciding what games should be localized, manufacturers look at the universal appeal of a game. If they can blend foreign elements with familiar elements, this type of mix often works. While players are surrounded with universal ideas, they are also directed into a new locale.

Therefore, when decisions are made for localization, this type of viewpoint is recognized. In addition, you need to carefully scrutinize the dialogue. For example, instead of employing a direct translation, it is often better to deconstruct the text and revamp it for another audience. That way, localization succeeds in enriching the gaming experience. Game localization decisions also include adding humor. That is why it is often helpful to deconstruct text. That translation, in turn, becomes more player-friendly.

Embracing the Characters

Needless to say, the content of a game and its characters are major factors in deciding what to localize and translate. By including cultural variances, the dialogue of the characters become an integral part of game play. It also helps to hire actors that truly embrace the character they are voicing. All these factors can be used to bring a series of games to the top in game play.

When making decisions about localizations, video game companies must also recognize some of the myths. These myths center on translation. For example, some companies believe it is cheaper, in the long run, to sell their games in English. However, half of the worldwide revenue comes from markets that do not speak English. So, again, when localization is employed, it primarily focuses on a country’s culture and how the characters can be fused into the local scene.

Image Credit: University of Rochester