The Future of Game Localization: Trends, Strategies, and Best Practices for 2024

Game localization became essential for any game producers that aim for global success to their newest game. In 2024 it’s not easy to achieve this global success without gaming localization as the audience of your game doesn’t speak one language and doesn’t come from the same cultural background. To talk to them all and build a connection localization of games into their native language and consider their cultural nuances.

In this article, In this article, we will explore the localization of video games, its 2024 trends, the most successful strategies and practices that our 40 years of experience in localization have taught us, and what makes a game go viral.

The Most Effective Strategy for Game Localization in 2024

Planning for the localization of video games is as important as the localization process itself. The strategy draws the map that the localization team follows step by step. To set your strategy straight, we build it on the answer of these five questions:

What Are Your Goals in Video Game Localisation?
Defining your goals is the first step of any localization process. Without it, lots of effort will be made and the result will not reach the minimum. In this stage the target audience, target language, the used tools, and the budget for this project are defined. The localization strategy for a software program is different from the game localization process. For a game localization project, it’s important to set clear objectives from the beginning. It will ensure that your game localization will get the needed support from the localization team ultimately leading to a greater return on investment (ROI), achieving your desired results, and setting a long-term community strategy.

Defining the game localization goals will help your game flourish as:

🔰 You can accelerate your project to achieve the targeted ROI when defining the vision and goals of the game localization process. In another way, allocating your resources more efficiently will ensure that your investments deliver the returns you desire.

🔰 Clear objectives simplify project planning and reduce the chances of misunderstanding and miscommunication, which leads to increasing team productivity, as each team member involved in the project works towards the same goal.

🔰 Establish a long-term game localization strategy allows you to continuously refine and improve your local system, ensuring that your operation remains effective and efficient over time.

What is The Depth and Breadth of the Game Content?
In this phase, three decisions are important to take, the chosen approach and scope for the content localization, determine the content that requires translation, and the number count and costs of the translation.

After determining these three, it’s time for sitting the budget for the video game localization process. By considering things like translation costs, software licensing, and project management costs.
To Which Market Am I Launching / Localizing the Game?
When it comes to developing your game localization, it’s important to understand requirements and demands of the market, that are often determined by analyzing your own game’s performance and studying competitors. Checking competitors makes all the difference, when identifying who are your key competitors and measuring their strengths and weaknesses enable you to develop a comprehensive strategy that meets the needs of your target audience and sets your game apart from the competition. Also, put in mind that market conditions are always changing, so it is important to constantly monitor the demand for your game and adjust your strategy accordingly.
What is the Time Schedule for the Game Localization Project?
Paying attention to the deadlines and putting in mind the time constraints of translators can be key to delivering games localization projects on time. Also, considering the potential contributions of computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, and translation memory (TM), you will manage better the project and assign tasks to translators in an efficient way. This method allows you to set dates and accurately predict the completion dates and deadlines.
How will You Bring the Game Localization Plan into Reality?
The answer to this question is within the tools and resources you will use in your game localization process. After the research and preparation for the game localization project, you are faced with many options in the localization toolbox. Hiring translators, submitting requests for proposals (RFPs) or requests for information (RFIs) to language service providers (LSPs), translation management systems (TMS), with machine translation (MT) and neural machine translation (NMT) will be used. The options are vast and to determine the most effective strategy for the localization project, prioritize the requirements that will ensure the success of the localization efforts.

The Best Practices to Use in 2024 for Video Game Localization

You can create truly immersive, fun and engaging gaming experiences for players around the world by applying these practices in the localization of games process:

Adapt Your Game to the Local Culture
Successful game localization goes beyond just translating text. Game localization includes adapting the content of the video game to the cultural values, emotions, and preferences of your target audience through changing images, symbols and context in the game ensuring that conversations and people names are appropriate. Also, make sure that your game complies with local laws and regulations regarding video game content.

🔰 Here is an example of localization of video games to local culture:
S.O.S The Final Escape: In the localized US model, huge number of the characters had blonde hair, whereas that they had dark hair within the Japanese model, to better fit the local tastes and expectations.
Provide Translators with Context to the Game
In order to ensure the accuracy and quality of the game translation, it’s important to use your local team to get as much contextual information as possible about the content of your game. The plot and storyline, characters, settings, and any other relevant information can help game translators better understand the context and concept of the game.
Use the Local Language in Your Game:
If you really want your game to align with local markets, it’s important to use the native language of the audience. Gone are the days when English speaking countries dominated the gaming industry. Games markets in regions such as India, the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia have become major players that have their own unique language preferences. Assassin's Creed Mirage game gives an example of using the local language when localizing to the Middle East; The game localization crew included classical Arabic, prominent that was used through the golden age of Baghdad, to capture each linguistic authenticity and cultural relevance.
Avoid Hard-Coding in Your Game Design
In the process of localizing your game, you’ll be encoding hundreds of words and phrases. To make the process more efficient, it is advisable to use a flexible game architecture that allows for easy modification and updating of local features. An effective method is to store all locally available information in an external resource file, separate from the game source code.
Testing and Iteration
Localization is an ongoing process, and it’s important to constantly test and adjust your localized versions based on player feedback and market trends. Regularly communicate with your international player community through local social media channels, forums and support channels to gather insights and identify areas for improvement in your game localization.

Video Game Localization Growth Opportunities in 2024

The global video game localization industry is prepared for rapid growth from 2023 to 2030, driven by steady market expansion. According to 360 Research Reports the market is expected to reach billions of US$ by 2030. It's growing at an unexpected CAGR from 2022 to 2030.
North America continues to play an important role in the games market due to high adoption of the newest technologies. It's now leading companies in the region. Game sector investors are optimistic about the market and expect new investments due to the global gaming trend, despite the tough competition.
The global video game localization market is focused on major regions such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, Middle East, and Africa, and provides comprehensive insights into market size, segment size, competitive landscape, and recent status and ongoing growth.

To get deeper into gaming localization and discover its secrets and practices, check our games localization services and contact us to check how we have been doing it since 1983.