Seven Guidelines for Game Globalization

Category: Technology

Our recent newsletter article on global gaming has some great info on successful game localization. By following the seven basic guidelines below, you’ll be ready to explore new global realms (and generate new revenues in the process):

1. Hire the gamers

In order to re-create your in-game experience for players in other countries, you’ll want to work with linguists, translators, voice talent and testers who have extensive experience playing games (whether for console, computer, mobile device or other).

2. Develop a thorough test plan

A thorough test plan should capture every nuance a player might experience. This includes checking for truncations due to text expansion, making sure that onscreen text makes sense in context and verifying that user directions show up in the right places.

3. Mind the linguistic details

Don’t skimp when it comes to your game details, like graphics, music and characters. Errors and badly translated messages are no longer considered cute in today’s global world. Consistency throughout each language version of your game will minimize distraction and allow your international gamers to fully enjoy your game environment.

4. Know your regional restrictions

In some countries or regions, you’ll have to submit your game content to organizations that determine legal age ratings, such as the USK and PEGI. These organizations not only determine who can purchase your video game but also what content is authorized for each age range. Remember, too, that video coding (PAL and NTSC) may affect how your game is displayed in each country.

5. Check inputs across languages

You’ll want to check and double-check that interactive user-facing details are functional in all of your languages. This involves ensuring that hotkeys, shortcuts and other user input are mapped accurately according to what makes sense for your regions.

6. Avoid cutting corners

Audio, music and onscreen text are a few of the areas where localization corner-cutting is noticed, resulting in a mediocre rendition of your English game. Allot plenty of space for localized onscreen text as many languages tend to expand in translation. If you’re using music, triple-check that you have the legal licensing rights to publish it in your target countries.

7. Localize packaging, marketing and user documentation

Investing in high-caliber marketing translations is one way to develop and maintain your new user base. Translated packaging design must allow for regionally-specific symbols, such as ratings, UPC codes and fine print that your English packaging might not require. You’ll also want to localize help screens and documentation to ensure that your players fully understand your game features and have easy access to tech support.

Ready for more info? Read our full newsletter article. Have comments or questions? Let us know below!