China has the largest digital revenue share of any country, boasting 97% share. The global average is just 84%. This dominant share is driven by dominance of the PC market along with high digitalization. Now, compare that percentage to Japan which has just 28% of the total games market which hails from console and PC games. So, what is China’s method to success?
Game Localization and Chinese success
Ever noticed how a single game can be released in a multitude of different countries in each country’s language? This is called game localization and it allows developers to tailor the gaming experience to appeal to the audience it is intended for.
Game localization includes every element from eliminating parts of the game that other cultures may find offensive to translating the game into different languages. If you are not localizing your games in the right way for today’s global gamers, you are missing out on a big portion of the market.
Tips for localizing games
1. Understand the markets you wish to enter – just because you know that China, for example, is the most profitable industry, doesn’t mean your game is instantly appropriate for the market. Keep the following points in mind:
- Carefully plan your research and learn about gaming in your target countries.
- Find out if the market has the money to spend, you want to ensure that potential players in a country can afford to buy your game.
- Talk to local gamers to gain a good understanding of the market.
2. Pay attention to cultural norms – cultural errors can be costly for your game. You should pay attention to:
- Beliefs and religion – if your game has source elements of religion for the storyline, keep in mind this could affect different players in different countries and offend an entire culture.
- Historical accuracy – if you want to appeal to global markets, your historical events of other cultures need to correlate with players.
It’s not just the big companies moving in
It’s not just the bigger companies on China’s mobile gaming scene that are enjoying success. Small to medium size companies are taking full advantage of their greatest asset which is agility. They’re using it to move in brand new directions and forge ahead in emerging markets. From comic-based games to animation, indie games, warfare games, and more, these niche segments have proved to be promising for smaller businesses looking to make it big. And, in an industry that is wholly defined by innovation, you have to keep an eye on those smaller businesses, since they tend to lead the way for bigger players.
As for gamers in China, all of these developments mean two important things: far more options and huge opportunity to demand the high-quality gaming experience they want.
While localizing a game takes a little extra work, if you have a well localized game that takes the above points into consideration, you could enjoy a piece of that massive Chinese gaming pie – and more!