Video game localisation: how to adapt your game listings for app stores
Let’s discuss video game localisation. App stores give you a global platform to release your games to worldwide audiences – in the industry’s most lucrative market. Mobile gaming now represents 42% of the entire market and it’s forecast to account for more than half of a $128.5 billion industry by 2020.
Needless to say, those are some tempting figures, but tapping into the global gaming market means you need to look at video game localisation. Localise your games for each target audience – and that’s not all. Before you can get mobile gamers playing your latest release, they have to download it from their chosen app store. Which means you also need to localise your game listings for each app store you’re targeting.
First video game localisation step, choose your app stores
For mobile gaming, this seems pretty straightforward. Google and Apple pretty much own the entire mobile landscape, which means Google Play and iTunes are the obvious places to release your games.
However, there are third-party app stores that you might want to consider, if maximum exposure is your goal.
More importantly, there are different app stores around the world for specific markets, especially in Asia. Japan’s biggest mobile carriers all provide their own app stores for Android devices and the app store landscape is equally diverse in South Korea and China (these also happen to be three of the biggest non-English markets).
Once you’ve pinpointed your target audiences for your video game localisation, you need to know which app stores are most important to each of them. You might not choose to release on all of them, but you’ll be making this decision knowing what kind of access you’ll get on the platforms you go for.
Think about pricing and demos
Gamers in South Korea tend to be reluctant to buy a game they’ve never played before. While some markets in South America might not be prepared to pay the same price as gamers in Sweden and Europe’s other most affluent countries. So you need to consider which markets might need a free demo before convincing them to pay up for the full version. Likewise, you’ll want to think about pricing for each market and aim for the right balance between maximum downloads and turnover per unit.
This kind of overlaps the video game localisation and listing adaptation process, as you could potentially have to build a demo version, but it makes all the difference in some markets.
Game title – translate or not?
When it comes to translating your game listings, the title of your release is the first thing to think about. If your title is heavily branded, then you might want to leave it in English – but this depends how heavily you’re marketing your brand internationally.
If your titles are more descriptive, then it’s probably a good idea to translate them for different languages. International gamers aren’t searching app stores for puzzles; they’re looking for rompecabezas, 益智遊戲, パズル or something else entirely.
If your game title can’t be translated – either because there’s no direct translation or you’re using creative language – then you’ll either need to leave it in English or consider transcreation to create the same impact in other languages.
The best approach to title translation can vary from market to market.
Keywords and game descriptions
We already mentioned searches in the previous section and now it’s time to talk about keywords specifically. Don’t simply translate your existing keywords into other languages. Start again with each market by conducting keyword research for each market because the most common terms used to find games like yours might be different.
With your keyword research done, you can now consider video game localisation and localise your game descriptions for each market. Once again, though, simply translating your original game description may not be the best way to go.
Game descriptions in Japan and Korea, for example, tend to be shorter and use different selling points to what might be used for English-speaking markets. It’s worth putting in the research to understand what kind of game descriptions get the best results in your target markets. Otherwise, all of your video game localisation efforts could come unstuck due to game descriptions that don’t excite local gamers.
Localise your screenshots
The other key element to your game descriptions are screenshots of gameplay. A classic mistake many publishers make is using the same screenshots (normally in English) for every language/location. This is fine for shots where there’s no visible video game localisation or gaming translation but showing menu items in the wrong language, for example, is a rookie mistake.
Include screenshots showing local languages in-game elements to give extra confirmation that your game does in fact cater to them. So make the most of this. There are plenty of cases where games on Google Play have translated game descriptions for languages the game itself doesn’t even support. Let’s just say the reviews for these listings aren’t very impressive.
That gives you an overview of the process for localising your game listings for different app stores. You may find different markets require different approaches – and this is fine, as long as you do the necessary research and have a flexible localisation process in place. If you have any doubts, get in touch with our experts on social media or pick up the phone and give us a call.
- Posted by Alexandra Kravariti
- On 29th June 2017
- 0 Comments