One of the first things I do when I start playing a game is to check the language options. I am genuinely curious how many languages developers/publishers chose to localize to, as well as which languages. (I also love testing my language skills by playing games in other languages, usually French, Spanish, or Swedish when available.)
It is usually difficult to find ample language options in games, particularly for voiceover.
Acquiring New Language Skills
Even though I haven’t studied Portuguese, I played WoW on a Portuguese server for a while and ended up picking up a fair number of words by questing with others. I typed to them in Spanish (using my rather limited Spanish language knowledge at the time), and they typed back in Portuguese. Although some words are similar, Spanish and Portuguese are very much two separate languages.
It actually didn’t take long before I was able to use some Portuguese words while playing WoW. It was a whole different way of experiencing the game, and a whole lot of fun! Continue reading →
How To Be A B2B Pro When Working With Chinese Mobile Game Companies
By Michelle Zhao, Managing Director – Greater China, LAI Global Game Services
Before we get into the data, let’s take a look around China:
Waiting in queues
In the subway car
The lucrative market
By the end of 2013, China had a $13 billion revenue game industry and 490 million players according to GPC, the China Game Publishers Association Publications Committee. Accounting for $1.8 billion, with 310 million mobile gamers, the mobile gaming market has been especially hot, seeing the largest growth in 2013 after rising 246.9% from the previous year. With the open policy of 4G license issuing (Dec. 2013) and economic growth in 2nd and 3rd tier cities, more people are expected to play mobile games. It is estimated that hardcore mobile games will be taking over half of the mobile game market in 2014. (Hardcore game mobile growth: 8% in 2008, 42% in 2013, 52% est. in 2014)
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes, And dupp’d the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more.
Valentine’s Day is already here! To some people, it means doing something romantic for a loved one. And to some game developers, it means adding holiday-themed content to their games. This may mean adding hearts, Cupid arrows, and pink items, such as in Angry Birds Seasons, or it may mean letter and gift deliveries depending on relationships with in-game characters, such as in Animal Crossing.
The holiday, as we know it today, is said to have its roots in 14th century England. According to scholars, February 14th first became associated with love and romance thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer, the “Father of English literature” and notable poet of the Middle Ages. Chaucer’s writing supposedly incorporates the first written record of Valentine’s Day: Continue reading →
Perspectives on Game Localization for the Emerging Chinese Console Game Market
By Michelle Zhao, LAI’s Managing Director for Greater China and Rory Schussler, Special Correspondent
Earlier this January, China lifted a 13 year ban on the sale and manufacture of gaming consoles. This has generated great excitement about the future of the video game industry in China, but it is still too early to know how successful the big console players will be in taking advantage of this opportunity. (Nintendo has said they have no plans so far for entering the Chinese market; Sony is making ambitious plans to sell 5 million PS4s by March, 2014.)
We’re still waiting on more details from the government on how the change in regulation is going to work. Restrictions on content are an issue for game designers. Piracy and the grey market are major concerns. The biggest challenge is how to adapt to the differences of the Chinese market.
LocaLAIse This! (pronounced “Localize This”) features an interview with Kate Edwards, Executive Director of the IGDA. Kate has worked extensively as a geopolitical strategist and localization expert at leading companies such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. She has worked on numerous AAA titles, including the Dragon Age series, Modern Warfare 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mass Effect 3, and Halo 4.
In this episode, Kate discusses emerging markets, proper culturalization of games, and her work consulting on AAA titles. You can check it out at this link, or download it for free from the iTunes Store.
Localization is one of the few parts of the production process where you know you’ve done a good job when no one ever mentions it. A good localization isn’t intrusive and should make the player feel that no matter what language they’re playing the game in, that is the original.
I recently returned from DevHour, an incredible industry conference in Mexico City. The organizers have done a fantastic job of bringing together game development talent from states across Mexico, making DevHour the largest conference specifically for game developers in Latin America. As a result, the conference is gaining more traction from organizations abroad, this year including talks by the IGDA, King.com, YetiZen, and TechBA Vancouver.
Since very little has been written about the nuances of game localization, particularly for languages outside of Japanese and English, I interviewed Language Automation’s Latin American localization team and gamers from the region, in addition to scouring gaming forums. This article reflects the compiled information – how linguistic differences across 20 Latin American countries affects immersion in games and how translators are able to compensate for these linguistic variations. I’m publishing this article in follow up to my DevHour presentation about game localization, in which I spoke about the complexities of global markets and why proper localization (and culturalization) is key. Continue reading →
Check out our new podcast NOW available on iTunes – LocaLAIse This! In this first episode, LAI speaks with Ubisoft’s Localization Project Manager Margherita Seconnino about her work overseeing the localization of Assassin’s Creed titles. Stay informed of future episodes by signing up for our newsletter. Our next episode will feature someone from Sega!