Sooner or later, every game developer faces the question of which languages to translate their game into. The standard option is to translate into the major European and Asian languages, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, typically referred to as FIGS+CJK. But is this choice always optimal?
Let’s not beat around the bush: games are translated to access new markets and make money. Therefore, when choosing language markets, it’s important to consider two factors: are there enough people who speak the target language and do they spend enough money on games?
Let’s take a look at the list of the most common languages in 2023:
|Language||Number of native speakers, million||Countries (the biggest)|
|Mandarin Chinese (including Standard Chinese, but excluding other varieties)||939||China|
|Spanish||485||Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru|
|English||380||United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Guyana, Papua New Guinea|
|Hindi (excluding Urdu and other languages)||345||India, Pakistan, Fiji|
|Portuguese||236||Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique|
|Russian||147||Russia, a significant part of the former USSR countries|
|Yue Chinese (including Cantonese)||86.1||China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore|
You may have noticed that German, French, Italian, and Korean are not on this list. However, they are included in another ranking: they are spoken in the countries that show maximum profit for gaming companies.
|Country||Gaming market revenue |
|United States||45||English, Spanish|
This list of languages already looks like a sure-fire plan. However, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- The more in-demand the market, the higher the competition and the more expensive advertising can be. Sometimes, it makes sense to conduct a soft launch in a less popular locale to gauge how users perceive your game and adjust your future marketing strategy accordingly.
- Some countries impose legislative restrictions. In some countries, too explicit or violent games may face censorship. While the Chinese market is the largest in the world, it can require a tremendous amount of developer’s effort in regard to compliance.
- Different regions have varying preferences in game genres. Check which genres are popular in different regions. This information can be found in analytical reports from research agencies like Statista or Newzoo. And you can find reports on various markets on our website.
- Keep in mind that many modern games fall into a cross-section of different genres, so it’s worth conducting a detailed analysis of competitors in the markets that interest you.
- There may already be a demand for your game in a particular language locale, and players may be willing to pay even more if they better understand the storyline. To obtain this data, we analyze game reviews in app stores. You can read more about this service in our marketing materials. If you want to order an analysis of reviews for your game, please leave a request.
In conclusion, the FIGS+CJK language package is an excellent choice for a developer with a sufficient budget for localization and promotion in local markets. If a developer is unsure which language to translate a game into first, it’s advisable to consider the size of the gaming market in a specific country, the complexity of entering it, and the extent of demand. Our team will be happy to help you determine a strategy for entering new markets and will handle all aspects, from language selection to final localization testing.