5 Latest Trends in Game Localization
By: Shahzad Bashir
Video games have made their way into our daily life and there seems to never go away now. These have been produced and made by developers in abundance. There are games for everyone and for every age depending on their interests and hobbies. People also get stuck with the variety they have in video games. This surge in demand pushes developers to go for video game localization.
Table of Content
- Game Localization
- Technicalities of Game Localization
- The Gaming Industry in Numbers
- Five Latest Trends in Game Localization
- 1. Getting Regionally Specific
- 2. Investing in Automation and Computer Translation Tools
- 3. Cloud Gaming and Metaverse
- 4. Not Compromising on Text to Speech (TTS) Thing
- 5. Keeping a Check on Quality Assurance
Game localization is a process that adapts a game according to the needs preferences and choices of foreign audiences. It includes translation and a lot more. It further contains the processes where globalization and linguistic quality assurance are also executed minutely.
It is important to take note that game localization is far more than a simple translation of a game’s textual content. It further could require language-related complexed tasks, working on graphics and backdrops as well as in-game dialogue boxes.
Technicalities of Game Localization
Game localization is a technical task and hence requires localization experts to ace this process. It includes extraction of strings from particular codes and also asks for a reasonable proficiency in computer programming language too.
Here are the salient features of a game localization process to look at vigilantly before you start the process.
The translation is primarily important for smooth game localization. It deals with the translating content of the game, its text, and properties into required target languages. The translation process may be executed by a freelance translator or could be outsourced to a translation agency depending on the volume of work and requirement.
After translation comes editing which is inevitable for a better translation. It deals with the correction of textual mistakes and correcting stylistic errors. It further is required to ensure that language is accurate and consistent.
Proofreading is imminent to fix the mistakes and typos that could have been overlooked by the translators and editors. This process usually addresses the text only excluding other parts.
The integration talks about the incorporation of the translated, edited, and proofread text. This material is added as per the requirements in the game. A specific code is also updated to adjust translated material to the game. It is further adjusted and modified in accordance with UI/UX display.
Regional adaptation is one of the important localization trends. Not all games are accepted in all regions. China has blocked all such games which show blood, skulls, or any sort of religious symbolism. Korean do not find it pleasant to play with religious themes. Therefore, it is important to filter the content according to regional practices.
The Gaming Industry in Numbers
The video gaming industry has been on rising in such a short span. Due to COVID-19 people got into games more than ever. People who were staying at home and were into their gadgets exploring new games to have a good time increased the demand for video games and their diversity in it. The pandemic made video games more normal for people and video games along with COVID-19 are also the new normal.
According to the 2021-2026 report of the gaming market, growth trends in the gaming industry all over the world stands at USD 162.32 billion in 2020 and there is no looking back for it.
It rather is going to touch new heights by 2026 reaching USD 295.63 billion as the report estimates. It further suggests that game consumption saw a rise of 45% in the US followed by France with 38% and 29% and 20% in the UK and Germany respectively.
Five Latest Trends in Game Localization
Game localization is a technical process and therefore the localization experts and team are expected to work on particular factors before they start their work with their games. Though the developers should be mindful of a lot of the localization trends to make their game ring well in search engines, five of these are.
1. Getting Regionally Specific
This trend is not recent. It rather has always been there as the first and foremost rule. The developers who understand the term dully make the most of it. Localization is a process that goes well with companies when they want to address a wider audience and most of the regions at once. This is how they do universal localization.
The example may include simplified Spanish. Almost all Spanish speakers understand its simplified version so the game developers don’t really have to regionalize and customize their game content. This ideally sounds good and convenient. However, what is the point of talking about getting regionally specific?
The point here implies how people can understand what is being said and the content but they might not feel like connecting to it. In order to make them feel connected and attached to your gaming content, it is imperative that they are addressed in a tone that they speak in their daily and routine life.
The process of localization might seem easier and more convenient at first however, it is not. It often gets tricky to resonate with the target audience and to connect with them dully.
Developers are expected to hyper-localize the content as the latest trend. As when it comes to gaming the player should get immersed in the game and should get addicted to it looking for new challenges as players on the field.
So, getting regionally particular and specific is the prerequisite for smooth and seamless game localization. Also, it should be incorporated into the game localization right from the start and development phase.
A better-localized version with the right cultural and regional attributes will make the players feel more relevant and at home. They can play well and can also get addicted.
2. Investing in Automation and Computer Translation Tools
A video game often Involves a lot of partners and stakeholders. It is extremely important that you follow this latest trend where a centralized localization tool is introduced which enables automation and everyone gets on board with and stays updated about the localization, its process, and the time it is going to take.
Automation can also be enabled via automated translation workflow. You as an owner and developer can always take this decision of configuring your tasks in the translation management system.
It is important to take this initiative so that the particular tasks can be scheduled and later these can get initiated on their own by integrating these with particular triggers.
An automotive translation workflow could be summarized in the following translation workflow
◘ Authorization of content for translation
◘ Translating the content
◘ Editing it further
◘ Reviewing the translation
◘ Publishing of translation
An organized and already set workflow platform keeps on processing with the automatic routes of completed translation and moving to the next step once the previous step is completed.
This process also doesn’t require human intervention at every step and hence, keeps working with less time and more energy.
Another convenient method to integrate the automating feature is with the help of integrations. Integration of content priorly helps with the connecting of the business, its critical applications, and other processes all across the enterprises.
This includes how a translation platform that has the design tool integration can help designers collaborate effortlessly with the localization team.
They barely leave the tools they are familiar with. Moreover, it is very important for the gaming industry where companies often thrive to keep up with the evolution of content.
3. Cloud Gaming and Metaverse
With advanced technology, there are things possible that were once a novelty only. The gaming sector based on remote servers and streaming to the player’s device is the new trend in game localization. People who have the idea of the processing and working of web 3.0 and metaverse can get more clarity on how things can be visualized better about cloud gaming and metaverse.
Remember how Facebook went through the transition from Facebook to Meta, it is a virtual space that contains a dimensional universe or let’s say 3D worlds which are further conjured by virtual reality and augmented reality with more virtual spaces.
They have been modeling it to not only make an accurate match of the real world but also it is a mixture of augmented and mixed reality experiences.
The in-game features according to the experts should include
The textual content is about the user interface, subtitles, captions, in-game text, etc.
This part of the game includes voice-overs and dubbing.
Creative Marketing Content
It adds the details of graphics and advertising.
Cultural assets are also important for referential imagery, storytelling, and idioms as well.
This part of the game includes labels and policies.
These all parts of the games should not be ignored and overlooked as these are mandatory for the markets that you as a business are planning to tap into.
4. Not Compromising on Text to Speech (TTS) Thing
The voiceovers and their significance lie in high quality of speech, placeholders, timing, cost, and language with the hardship. The quality of each of the factors is important and should be executed well hence making this trend its space in the top five.
The errors inside should be as minimal as possible next to non-existent and considering the reputation ofartificial intelligence a lot of people get furious about AI’s role and its implementation for text-to-speech in the process of game localization.
Nonetheless, despite all the labor, price, and automated text-to-speech it could be cost-effective. This is good how even during optimal quality it can support the decisions of adjusting narratives and cinematics ad pace.
For instance, localization usually comes during the later stages of game development. Multilingual voiceovers are required to cater to the needs of the crucial arrangements of subtitles, frame time, and more.
Consequently, AI and AI-powered Text to speech can anticipate the required time and resources that are being utilized for the placeholder til the time a final script is ready and in-game arrangements are also defined.
This way the time and money by facilitating it with upfront hints and also important to keep track of how many adjustments are needed and where and when these could be integrated. This further also implies how the final voice-over can be done nicely.
5. Keeping a Check on Quality Assurance
The fifth most important trend which is doing the round for some time now needs to be taken seriously. It is about quality assurance. This factor should be considered the prime part of the game localization and its trend.
The developers should work on integrating a foolproof and better quality assurance feature during the development stages. They should not be waiting for the product team for output and participation.
This might lead to a lack and overlook quality assurance. This is one of the latest trends and for the right reasons. Quality should not be promised in game localization.
Getting into the quality assurance process may make it easier to save time and resources along with relatively less number bugs and glitches.
The process of localization is there for a reason, not one but for multiple reasons. They have that power to enable other departments to be more accessible, diverse, and more understanding to get the games launched in new markets.
Also other than the quality assurance team you can also take help from the feedback provided by the players and the communities they make to share their feedback and help each other with the game’s rules and regulations.
Languages and cultures are always evolving. In order to ensure an accurate and pleasant user experience, it is important to resonate with the users and their preferences rightly.
With advanced technology and even more smart artificial intelligence gaming industry is set to only rise and boom. With more demands comes a surge in localization too. The process of localization relies on particular factors to sustain and fetch more audience. Therefore, it is imperative that the game developers work on integrating the best trending localization features from the very start such as getting regionally specific, looking for accurate animation and automation tools, working on cloud gaming, and ensuring that the process of quality assurance is not overlooked.