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The Power of Localization: How Translations Drive the Success of Global Gaming Brands

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Creating games is an engaging and complex process that requires not only the cooperation of many specialists from various fields, but also financial resources. So what can be done to make the entire venture profitable and profitable? First of all, it is worth localizing it, i.e. translating, adapting and releasing the game to other language markets, so that access to it is as wide as possible.

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Game localization

Localization is a key element of translation, promotion and marketing that allows you to reach a wider and more diverse group of recipients. In the gaming industry, localization of computer games is the process of adapting the game to the requirements of a foreign market, a specific language, culture or to the target group. Localization involves much more than just translating the text of a video game. All cultural and social differences must also be taken into account in the location. Video game localization is the process of making the game appear to have been created for a specific country from the beginning.

Games and its relationship with psychology

For many people, playing video games is more than just a leisure activity. In the case of regular players, we often deal with various psychological phenomena, the proper use of which may be the key to the game gaining a wide group of fans and achieving great success.

  • The process of identifying with a character in the game. The game character is, in a sense, a digital representation of the player, some creation that the player uses in experiencing the virtual environment. Going through subsequent stages of the game, overcoming difficulties, achieving successes and failures is what attaches the player to the character and makes him identify with this avatar, and thus builds a bond with him that is often addictive.
  • The need for self-determination. The point here is that the player in the game has some ability to control the process. For example, in The Sims, the player has a decisive influence on the life of the Sims – will they be rich, will they live in a house with a garden or maybe in a housing estate? Everything is in the player’s hands and depends on him.
  • The need to belong, which is also related to gaming, is also called the need for affiliation and is related to the need for security. In the virtual space, it can be satisfied by social media or groups within these media, bringing together players. In the online gaming environment, players meet and interact with each other using their avatars. Being part of such a group has a positive effect on the sense of belonging and, by satisfying basic needs, leads to improved mental well-being.

Examples of successes in game localization

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed was developed in English and French language with a focus on the Canadian and European markets, but the company recognized potential and importance of the Arabic market, because over 20 countries around the world has a significant population of Arabic-speaking gamers. However, there was a hurdle in the process as there are over 50 different Arabic dialects. To solve this problem, a modern, standardized Arabic language format was used to ensure broad understanding for Arabic-speaking Assassin’s Creed fans. This step was undoubtedly a bull’s eye, because according to the company’s latest financial report, Ubisoft recorded a record first half of 2023, generating huge revenues of 836 million euro (885.2 million dollars) during this period, which was an increase of 14. 3% compared to the same period in 2022[1].

Angry birds

Angry Birds – a game created by Finnish developer Rovio Entertainment and one of the most downloaded games of all time, which even has its own movie series! There is no doubt that Angry Birds’ greatest global success would not have been possible without the localization that made the game appeal to a global audience. In the fourth quarter of 2022, Angry Birds publisher Rovio recorded revenues of as much as EUR 76.9 million. 63% of Angry Birds game sales occurred in the US, 6% in Germany, 5% in the UK, 3% in Canada and 2% in Korea. In 2022, Angry Birds 2 was ranked 9th in the Games/Casual category on Google Play in the US. Such results prove that game localization is undoubtedly crucial in making the game an extremely profitable business.

Grand Theft Auto- GTA

Certainly, one of the most popular games of all time, which has been localized into many languages (including: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian). But the biggest challenge turned out to be localization for the Japanese market and taking into account not only cultural differences but also censorship regulations. The localization process involved adapting the game’s content to Japanese law, as well as changing some game elements such as character design and graphic elements to better suit local preferences- Japan is very strict about censorship laws. The entire process turned out to be a success, as according to 2023 charts from Media Create, Grand Theft Auto 5 sold more copies than any other Western title previously released in Japan.


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