06/09/2022

Mobile Gaming — A Market Opportunity in Brazil

Video game creators should listen up! There is no shortage of opportunities for mobile game creators to find success in the Brazilian market. Because so many Brazilians utilize public transportation, they can kick back and relax while on the move. Passing the time by playing mobile video games is extremely common in this part of the world, so let’s examine some of the market opportunities for mobile gaming in Brazil. 

A Look at the Brazilian Mobile Market

The Brazilian mobile gaming market is booming. Brazil is Latin America’s largest market for mobile gaming in regard to both the amount of players and how much revenue is generated. With more than 88.4 million players and over $1.0 billion in revenue expected in 2021, Brazil is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming community. 

Why is this market in particular so hot right now? There’s a variety of factors contributing to this surge of growth in Brazil. Alongside the appeal of passing time on public transportation, taxation policy changes surrounding gaming consoles in recent years has helped the industry expand. The accessibility of mobile phones, in the sense that they are now affordable and most Brazilians have them, has also helped this industry thrive. According to Newzoo, the most commonly used gaming device in Brazil is the smartphone (83%), which leaves a lot of room for growth specifically in the mobile gaming industry. 

What They’re Playing

Brazilians play a wide variety of mobile games. In 2020, the most downloaded mobile games from the Apple App Store were:

Free games

  • ‘Among Us’
  • ‘Garena Free Fire’
  • ‘8 Ball Pool’
  • ‘Call of Duty Mobile’
  • ‘Brain Out’
  • Subway Surfers
  • ‘One!’
  • ‘Magic Tiles 3: Piano Game’
  • ‘Brain Test: Mind Games’
  • ‘Gardenscapes’

Paid games

  • ‘Minecraft’
  • ‘Plague Inc.’
  • ‘Pou’
  • ‘Hitman Sniper’
  • ‘RFS – Real Flight Simulator’
  • ‘Farming Simulator 20’
  • ‘Bully: Anniversary Edition’
  • ‘True Skate’
  • ‘GTA: Liberty City Stories’
  • ‘Stardew Valley’

Why They’re Playing

Alongside passing time on long bus rides, Brazilians turn to video games to de-stress. Because of this, Brazilians tend to enjoy playing mobile games that are extremely immersive and that absorb them into the game, while distracting them from reality for a little while. Strategy, role playing, and action games are super popular in Brazil because of their ability to be so engaging. Mobile game advertisers should look for opportunities to sell their games as a way to relax and escape everyday stressors like work. 

The Future of this Market

Despite the growing popularity of video games in Brazil, there is still room for this market to expand. Only a little more than one third of the Brazilian population express an interest in video games. Because those uninterested in games are unlikely to own gaming devices, there is a better chance that their first foray into gaming would be on a mobile device that they already own and use for other purposes. Brazil has a population of more than 212 million people and 81% of those people already own smartphones, making smartphone users a goldmine waiting to be tapped. 

Discover how Game Developers Can Make The Localization Process Easier
16/08/2022

How Game Developers Can Make The Localization Process Easier

When preparing to launch a game in a new locale, going a step past translation into localization is necessary to help a game connect with a new audience on a deeper level. The localization process not only translates the source material into a new language, but makes important adjustments to the content to take historial, religious, and cultural elements of the game into account. To make the localization process simpler from the get go, here are some steps game developers can take when handling the source language and development. 

1. Keep Future Localization Needs in Mind From Day One

If game developers can attempt to foresee any potential locales a game will be launching down the road, they can make the future localization process much simpler. It’s important to know what game elements are cultural and try to predict any “cultural clashes” with other markets that may occur. If you already know which elements could be problematic, you can later focus on adapting those to the new market or just avoid that market altogether and focus on launching in markets that are more similar to yours.

To predict promising locales before launching, it’s important to analyze the target market in terms of game genre preferences, growth in the last few years, potential revenue, and other key elements. What works for other developers will not necessarily work for you. You have to keep the unique characteristics of the game and the target market in mind. It’s a question of finding the ideal match for your game. This research can help you get an idea of what your future localization needs might look like. 

2. Keep Small Details in Mind

While it’s understandable why elements that could cause offense, such as religious or cultural references, may be your priority when creating a game that is primed for localization, you don’t want to forget the small details. You may need to adapt dates, time, numbers, and units of measurements during the game localization process. The formats for dates and units of measurement tend to differ across most languages, so as small as these details are, it’s important you keep them top of mind. 

3. Watch Out for Text in Images

If there is any text used in images, it’s likely you’ll need to localize that text as well. If you’re planning to launch in many different locales, it may save your localization team a lot of time and effort if you can avoid enriching images with text. Your graphics team will also be impacted, as they will have to redesign any images with text from scratch. In some cases this effort may be worth it, but you’ll want to think carefully before adding text to too many images. 

4. Build a Glossary Early On

Whether or not you’re planning on localizing your game content, creating a glossary early on in the game development process is key for maintaining consistency throughout the game. Having one will also make the localization process go much smoother. A glossary contains in-game terms and concepts such as character names, items, statuses, and artifacts that need to be preserved consistently. Being able to reference this glossary throughout the game development and localization process will keep everyone on track.

Internationalization, which is the design and development of a product or type of content keeps localization in mind from the get go. Setting up an internationalization process right away can help prepare your game for the localization process. For example, from day one you can avoid the use of concatenations in English that are extremely challenging for localization as they don’t transfer to most languages.

5. Communicate clearly

To help the localization team succeed, game developers need to be willing to communicate. It can be helpful to assign a point of contact that the localization team can turn to with any questions about the game. That way, the entire development team doesn’t have to worry about fielding questions and the localization team knows exactly who will be able to assist them. Another option you have available to you is implementing query sheets, which can facilitate organized and effective communication between everyone involved in a project. A query sheet is usually an online form or spreadsheet that tracks important details, status updates, and questions and answers about a project. This is a great option if you’re localizing the same game into multiple languages at the same time.

On any type of localization project, it is helpful to make any assets such as images, videos, walkthroughs, screenshots, and term bases with descriptions available to the localization team. That way, they have every resource they need to do the best job possible. Style guides can also be a valuable resource for the localization team.

Brazil as an emerging market key industries Portada
22/07/2022

Brazil as an emerging market: Key industries

The Brazilian market provides nearly endless business opportunities thanks to its massive population of more than 211 million residents. While many different types of businesses across multiple industries have the chance to thrive in this market, the video game, e-learning, and healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in particular have a lot to gain by entering and embracing the Brazilian market. Let’s examine why these industries can benefit so much by properly entering this vibrant market. 

Video Games

Because only 5% of the Brazilian population speaks English, localization into Portuguese is a must if you want your video game to be widely accessible to Brazilians. It’s extremely important that you localize your video game for the Brazilian market. Especially when you consider the fact that this country is home to over 66 million gamers, which is almost as many people that make up the entire UK population. An important factor to understand about the Brazilian market is how much they rely on their mobile devices because of how much they rely on their mobile devices, in part due to long commutes on public transport and affordability when compared to other platforms. Localizing mobile games in particular should be a priority for video game creators

E-Learning

Those that focus on the corporate training sector in particular have great potential to break into this market right now. Because only a minority of people in Brazil speak English, this language barrier prevents them from taking online courses that are not in their native language. Data suggests that Brazilian industries are developing fast, but their workforce is not adequately trained and can lack specific skills. If you adapt your online courses to their native language, you can help address this need and expand your reach in this market. 

You also have the opportunity to adapt your e-learning courses to a mobile format, which will appeal to this unique market. By 2023, the Latin America e-learning market is anticipated to generate more than $3 billion in revenue, so this is not an opportunity that e-learning content creators want to sleep on. 

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Circling back to those 211 million Brazilians, that’s a lot of people who need access to translated and localized healthcare and pharmaceutical information. As of 2018, there were more than 250 health-focused startups in Brazil. This isn’t surprising when you consider that Brazil is the world’s seventh-largest health market. 

From prescription packaging to medical records to insurance claims, there is a great need for proper translation and localization in the Brazilian healthcare industry. Brazil’s pharmaceutical market in particular is one of the largest in the industry and rapidly growing. With many pharmaceuticals developed in English-speaking countries, this leaves a large need for translation in this space. 

Mobile comes into play here once again. To help make healthcare as a whole more accessible (including advice, diagnosis, and monitoring), telehealth services are growing in Brazil. Part of the attempt to make healthcare more accessible is to embrace telehealth, which often takes advantage of mobile applications. 

Translation and localization in the healthcare and pharmaceutical space does not just lead to business opportunities, but also opportunities to create safer and more effective care for Brazilians.

28/06/2022

An Overview of the History of Video Game Localization

Despite its wide use today, video game localization is a relatively new endeavor. Video game creators started having their content localized in the 1980s and only recently, video game localization technologies and processes allowed for certain advancements. To better understand the need for video game localization, it can be helpful to look back at the history of this technique. 

The 1970’s: The Beginnings

The 1970s is where video game localization really comes into play. Japanese developers were looking to break into the American market and this drove them to start thinking about localization.

One of the most famous examples comes from the internationally popular video game PacMan. The Japanese name was initially thought of as “Puck Man” (pronounced ‘pakkuman’), but when localizing the product for the US market, they decided to change the name to avoid the name being misspelled or misused with another word that could be offensive or inappropriate.

1980s: Initial stages of localization

The 1980s is where we see the initial stages of video game localization beginning. During the 1980s, games started to be localized, but there was a lack of awareness of the importance of using native and specialized linguists. As a result, this stage was the funniest, or one could say tragicomic, in terms of localization. This is essentially because you see completely incorrect translations, some of which still exist today and continue to be referred to.

The translation of packaging and documentation became standard practice in the gaming industry for publishers who understood that this small investment could help them increase their revenue in international markets. Super Mario Bros was distributed with packaging and documentation translated into German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch—although the in-game text remained in English.

1990s: Demand grows

In the 1990s many games began to see their text translated on screen, and departments and companies that specialized in video game localization began to open. We were not only getting the box and docs translated, but we were also seeing the localization of the user interface and subtitles for the cinematics.  

This was huge for international audiences, because they could now immerse themselves in the game in their own language. Localization made video games more accessible to so many more players.

Some games from the 1990s are particularly memorable because they went as far as recording the voiceovers in other languages. Baldur’s Gate was one of the first RPGs that was localized and dubbed into other languages. 

By the end of the nineties, revenues doubled in the gaming industry and more than half of that growth came from the results driven by localization

2000s: Localization established

We are calling this stage “localization established”, because in the early 2000s there were technological improvements to facilitate the localization process. This is when video games started to be dubbed in different languages with actors. It was also around this time when video games started to be published in a variety of languages.

This was the birth of what is known as ‘sim-ship’, publishers were simultaneously shipping the games in a variety of languages to be released on the same date in all of its language variants.

Nowadays, localization is an essential process in the development of a video game and many companies now have an exclusive team of professionals dedicated to localization and testing. There are also increasingly sophisticated tools available to coordinate and ensure quality during the localization process.

26/02/2019

Video Game Localization: If Content is King, Context is Queen

In our previous post, we looked at how cross-cultural appeal depends on flawless localization. Now we’ll delve a bit deeper, and take a look at the importance of context in product development (through the lens of the video game industry).

Localization Has Always Been Important, but is Now More Important than Ever

I.

It’s 2019, yet somehow not all video game studios have gotten hip to the fact that cultural and linguistic localization is essential for global success! Even some major AAA studios do not fully localize their titles and may skimp on the linguistic production values. In a globalized market with diverse language locales, this is just bad business. Players report that studios ignoring the important detail of localizing dialogue, characters, and features frustrates them to no end. The decrease in quality is such that it interferes with players’ enjoyment of the game. Especially if translation is shoddy, players can get more than just a little upset! Companies should take note that these frustrations could lead to poor customer retainment, cutting into sources of ongoing revenue from DLC and microtransactions. As far back as 2011, dedicated localization had become a recognized and important specialty in the industry. As Christian Arno wrote in AdWeek that year:

“Many of the top video game companies use the services of dedicated localization specialists, who not only arrange for the translation and interpretation of the text and dialogue, but also help them to consider the subtler aspects of the gaming experience: the characters, the story, culture-specific points of reference — key aspects of a computer gaming experience that have often been more of an after-thought in the past.”

Eight years later, the industry and globalization itself have come a long way. In today’s internationalized gaming environment, with massive-multiplayer games spanning continents, and epic storylines as the new norm, there is simply no excuse for poor localization when exporting a game to any corner of the world.

The spread of comprehensive localization to large parts of the world has led audiences to expect that any game produced by a major studio be custom-tailored in a “made-for-me” fashion. As technology enhances the already spectacularly immersive experiences of today’s video games, the depth and quality of product localization must keep pace. Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are here and will soon become the new standard; localization, in every sense — linguistic, cultural, and technical must keep up with the three-dimensional trend that allows for the “suspension of disbelief”, the same capacity for wonder and imaginative realism that the world’s greatest movies and novels have achieved for decades. Interactivity has reached a new dimension as well: in many blockbuster titles players can act as in-game creators and share their creations with friends (think Minecraft’s virtual worlds or Grand Theft Auto V’s player-designed challenges and races). The experience of the game belongs to the player herself more than ever before.

Even in the pixelated era, “characterization” of in-game characters was important. With Pac Man’s American release in 1980, savvy producers realized that localization was vital to transitioning the game into the new market. Originally dubbed “Puck-Man”, the main character’s name was quickly changed to Pac Man due to concern that vandals would change the name to an English-language expletive. The names of several characters which were changed (including some of the ghosts) might not seem essential in a simple game, but translation and poor transliteration risk giving characters uncool or offensive names by mistake. Even fixing this small detail required acute cultural sensitivity and creativity for the translator/localizer to find a catchy solution to “Puck-Man’s” unfortunate original name. Arguably, failing to correct this detail could have hurt the game’s popularity in the U.S. In this day and age, it would likely make the whole game into a running joke and internet meme!

Great cultural sensitivity and linguistic sophistication are essential tools that a translator must have to ensure a game’s success. In modern games with elaborate, unforgettable plots, cinematic realism, and complex characters, such expertise is critical. Add dialogue, potential voiceovers, and lengthy text translation to the process, and localization becomes a sophisticated type of cross-cultural copywriting (together with the subsequent proofreading/QA). Passing on all of a game’s concepts and characters into a target language (a process sometimes referred to as “transcreation”) is a fine art requiring an astute ear for language and deep bi-cultural understanding of context, storytelling, and gaming tropes.

II.

Seamless localization is all the more vital to a game’s success since every new game has the potential to become a global cultural phenomenon overnight. The most ambitious new gaming ventures aim this high: they are high-stakes gambits to transcend the creative and technological limits of prior generations of games. The level of novelty and excitement required to win over gamers and get them to spend money has become extraordinarily high; therefore, games must deliver extraordinary new experiences, or they won’t be competitive.

In a globalized and instantly responsive community of gamers/critics, getting localization right the first time in every language locale has never been more important; industry insiders will recognize that the time-pressure of global release deadlines driven by the “sim-ship”[1] model makes this level of quality control a daunting task. So, it is up to game publishers to contract the best possible firms to work on their localization projects and make localization a high priority in from the start. Neglecting or deprioritizing localization can have serious consequences. A game with a great concept and commercial potential may easily become reduced to an unforgiving meme of lasting notoriety. Like an elephant, the Internet never forgets, and “A Winner Is You”. The stigma of poor localization and less-than-fluent translation is something to be avoided, and it can be avoided  — if and only if it is prioritized.

Context is everything. Without a dedicated localization team working closely with developers, the product’s narrative content, gameplay itself, and overall quality of player experiences all suffer. Since commercial success depends on these factors, it’s best to plan for localization and invest in it from the start.

[1] simultaneous shipping — the distribution model for most new games in western countries

video game localization
05/02/2019

Video Game Localization: How to Sell Games Globally

The localization of products and services has become a critical part of most business models, as the rise of globalization drives rapid, efficient expansion to foreign markets. We’ll take a look at some best practices, and pitfalls to avoid when expanding your business to another country. The gaming industry has a storied history of localization triumphs and failures, so it makes for a nice case study.

International Success Depends on Cross-Cultural Appeal

By 2015, the gaming industry posted revenues of $91.5 billion worldwide, dwarfing the box office take of global revenues from movies of $38.3 billion. In recent years, the most successful major titles such as the FIFA franchise, Fortnite, and Grand Theft Auto V, among others, have produced hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue within months of their release (and sustainably throughout their continued lifecycle).

Today’s international blockbuster video games have completely broken down the wall between mainstream culture and the traditional niche of gaming as a sub-culture. This is not to say that gaming sub-culture has faded away or is going to despite gaming becoming a more mainstream phenomenon across demographics of age and gender. Committed communities of superfans have continued to thrive and expand. Internationally, gaming and esports have attained mass appeal, especially among younger fans. A WaPo-U Mass Lowell joint poll found that among Americans age 14-21, almost as many respondents were fans of esports and competitive gaming, 38 percent, as were fans of American professional football (40 percent).

Commitment to cross-cultural appeal is essential to any publisher hoping to compete in the global market; therefore, successful localization is not an “extra” feature that’s nice-to-have, but an absolute requirement for a successful product launch. In short, game localization has become a universal vertical in the industry that is here to stay.

Would games like Fortnite and Grand Theft Auto V have achieved the same preeminent cultural status and sales records if publishers had been short-sighted about localization requirements? Translation of in-game text and voice-overs may be the most important localization task to enable creators to stay true to the characterization and storylines they have worked hard to achieve. It’s also the foundation for all the collateral involved in making the game playable by international players (directions, walkthroughs, guides, etc.) It’s hard to imagine games getting off the ground and gaining a global fan base without careful translation and quality control.

It’s amazing that players in the Bundesliga (the world’s football – a/k/a “soccer”), have been miming celebrations from the game Fortnight after scoring a goal at the same time that elite athletes in United States’ National Football League (an entirely different sport and cultural niche) are celebrating big plays with their own imitations of Fortnite in-game celebrations! Although each is a sports celebration, it is a tribute to the unbelievable cultural and commercial success of the game. It’s hard to imagine how a game could transcend linguistic, cultural, and geographic boundaries across continents without effective localization practices integrated into its development.

20/12/2018

Ready Player Uno: Why Video Game Localization Matters

The video game industry is booming with 2.2 billion active gamers in the world according to a report by Newzoo. In fact, Newzoo estimates the global gaming market will reach revenues as high as $143.5 billion by 2020. As the number of gamers continues to rise across the globe, so does the need for quality video game translators. As you know, localization of the game and marketing materials is often outsourced and hiring the wrong translator can have gaming companies wishing they could hit reset.

The art of video game localization is more than just converting text word for word into another language. There needs to be a deep understanding of regions, cultural norms, cultural sensitivities, language nuances, and slangs of the target market. Metaphors, idioms, jokes, and sarcasm can be difficult to localize translate region to region and a good video game translator should be able to catch these issues and fill in the gap. In addition to linguistic skills, excellent translators also understand gaming worlds and cultures knowing terminology and how to localize within that specific genre.

Localization Should be the First Step, Not Last

Video game developers are now designing games with localization in mind. To better reach international markets, developers have started making graphics and texts as editable as possible to avoid additional coding down the line. Large video game publishers will expect localization for all non-audio assets with no written word left untranslated. That’s why developers should avoid hard-coding into the games’ core files. When a game is properly localized, there stands a higher chance of the game to receive higher ratings by players. Gaining higher ratings will increase the popularity of the game and ultimately increased sales.

Immersion Disrupted

Video games are designed to be an immersive experience. They create spatial presence when the user starts to feel like he or she is within the world of the game. Vibrant graphics, environmental accuracy, and a strong narrative all contribute to this immersion. For a moment in time, the player forgets about their true surroundings entirely. Localization builds this experience and is intended to be so fluid, consistent, and natural, as if it’s “invisible” to the player. However, one small error in localization can result in an inharmonious experience, disrupting the player’s connection to the game and quickly pulling them back into the world they had previously escaped.

Translations Gone Wrong and Viral

Unfortunately, translators don’t always get it right and now their mistakes are going viral. There are countless videos, memes, books, and entire websites dedicated to making fun of bad video game localizations. “All your base are belong to us” is a highly popular internet meme that is a screenshot of a poorly translated English phrase found in the opening cutscene the arcade Zero Wing. One YouTube video featuring the game’s poor localization has accrued over 2.5 million views alone. The bad publicity from a translation mistake gone viral can negatively impact sales and cost companies millions in PR recovery.

Focus on the Latin America Market

A driving force in the emerging industry of video games is the Latin American market. In 2016, a total of 110 million Latin American paying gamers generated $4.1 billion, a year-on-year growth of 20 percent (Newzoo). One of the leading Latin American markets in the world is Mexico with 55.8 million players that will spend $1.6 billion in 2018 (Newzoo). According to Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU), Mexico’s gaming market will continue to grow at a rate of more than 13 percent. Argentina alone has over 18.5 million gamers that spent $423.4 million in 2017, making it the 25th largest games market in the world (Newzoo). To maximize profits, localization in these markets and their different Spanish variants are particularly important. The revenue from properly localizing to a Latin American market will recoup the investment of utilizing a translation service.

Localization mistakes are often avoidable when developers and publishers invest in the right translation team. Localizing video games, especially when text-heavy, can appear to be a daunting task. However, an expert localization team can make the process streamlined and seamless, expanding the game’s international reach and saving its reputation.