Essential data to ensure that your next game is multilingual

Localization for gaming doesn’t come cheap. But there’s too much competition from local, regional and global developers to shortchange the requirement for local cultural and linguistic resonance. With companies such as Amazon, Apple and Google launching their streaming services to compete with the likes of Microsoft, Sony and Tencent across all devices, localization won’t be taking a back seat anytime soon for gaming producers. And there are four essential categories that allow you to leverage data to convince executives to boost language investment in your latest franchise.

1. What type of localized experiences do your gamers prefer?

Visualize your gamers’ current and preferred localized experience with your organization throughout the various stages of their journey: awareness, discovery, attraction, purchase, use and advocacy. Identify possible gaps by comparing their current experience to global customer journey maps for each stage.

2. Which audiences may be at risk?

Identify the at-risk audiences in your principal local markets — the ones who aren’t logging much playing time or making in-game purchases. As a first step, analyze source language proficiency to develop a general feel for where your strategic markets land on this continuum. Figure 1 compares the preference for localized product information to confidence in using English among millennials in eight countries. Note that if you author content in a foreign language other than English, you should expect substantially lower proficiency than these figures indicate.

The more time that gamers spend on a site, the more likely they are to take action. Extended periods lead to greater engagement, such as registrations and in-game purchases, and the likelihood of returning for more interaction and buying. When asked to compare the time they spend on English-language sites versus those in their own language, 45% of millennials among the 1,217 surveyed stated that they either spent less time on English-language sites or didn’t visit them at all. Japanese (82%), German (64%), Russian (57%), and Chinese (55%) millennials spent the least amount of time on these sites.

3. What are your market opportunities by language?

Now that you’ve analyzed gamers’ current and preferred localized experiences with your organization and identified possible at-risk audiences in local markets, it’s time to determine market opportunity by language. Start with an overall view of the data to indicate the markets that may generate the most revenue from new or additional language support, in addition to the audiences that you want to promote for strategic reasons. Then consider how to balance the breadth and depth of languages to be delivered.

Tier 1 languages currently address 90% of global online purchasing power. CSA Research tracks hundreds of languages and how they’re used on web and mobile sites. We divide them into four tiers according to their share of online purchasing power and online audience. These tiers can help you balance feedback from web and mobile analytics, game producers and customer support as you build cases to offer — or not — a language or group of languages. Today, you can reach 90% of the market with only 15 languages (Figure 2). It takes another 17 languages to reach 97% and 24 more to achieve 99% of the online marketplace.

4. What are your competitors up to?

Refine your conclusions by benchmarking what your organization has planned against what the competition is doing both within your industry and in related ones. You can also bolster your case visually by showing screenshot comparisons between your firm and your competitors to underscore where you’re ahead and behind.

Articulate your ROI story with conviction

Communicate with confidence how localization contributes to your game studio’s financial success through increasing gamer loyalty in local markets. Remind your audience of the essential role that your team plays in supporting the generation of international revenue — and any domestic revenue that is based on localized products and content.