The Mobile-First Wave
Not so long ago, when gaming companies decided to go global with their content, the unquestioned approach was to localize into English (U.S.) first. Subsequently companies would pivot from English into European and Asian languages for other locales.
These days, however, we see an increasing number of requests to translate into French, Spanish and Russian directly from Chinese, Korean or Japanese. And these requests are just the tip of the iceberg, especially when it comes to Asian language pairing such as Japanese into Malay or Chinese into Japanese. To understand this trend, and help our customers achieve their goals, we need to examine the motivations driving this change.
Asia has become a powerhouse in gaming content generation, especially in the mobile market. Southeast Asia (SEA) with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, among other geographies, is a $5 billion mobile-first market. Non-SEA publishers are looking at the region’s potential to grow their revenue with localized game releases.
SEA gamers largely sat out the console and PC generation and instead went straight to the devices they already had—mobile phones. The rise of mobile gaming went hand-in-hand with the surge in Asian players.
A Newzoo 2020 report summarizes the factors that are driving the growth of the market and corroborates the increasing customer demand that Lionbridge Games sees for localization to and from SEA languages. Increasingly, those customers are asking whether the traditional pivot through English brings the benefits they need.