The Importance of Localization When Digitizing Games
Some types of games have been online for a long time now, with roulette, blackjack, and poker some of the long-established online games. More recently, they have been joined on the internet by the likes of mahjong, andar bahar, Monopoly, and Cluedo, among others.
With many more games expected to appear in digital versions, localization is one of the key factors that developers need to consider. How does this work and what other issues are involved in a successful transition of this type?
What Elements Go into Digitizing a Game?
There are many different parts involved in creating a digital version of a popular game. The most obvious is the appearance, as some players will want to see a faithful rendition of all aspects while others may look for some modern updates, which can lead to different versions being made available. We can see this with some card games, which are available in formats such as high speed dealing and with different side bets, as well as classic versions.
The pace of the game is also important, as some games are for relaxing with and others are all about fast, constant action. Naturally, online games tend to be faster than offline versions, but the original feel of the game can be lost if the change is too noticeable. In the example of a roulette, we can see that live-streamed games with human dealers allow the original pace and rhythm of the game to continue online.
With many games, the social aspect and the chance to play against others is also crucial, but solo players also need to be considered. This is where multi-player options are useful, as can be seen in Battleships, which can be played against a human opponent or against the computer.
How Is Localization Carried Out?
The process of localizing a game to a specific market is one of the most complicated parts of the move towards online games. The first step here is to design a game that will appeal to a global market. Most of the highly successful games mentioned here have a simple but appealing theme that works well in different cultures.
Language options need to be considered, of course. Although many of the games we have looked at have little or no on-screen text shown during play, there needs to be a set of rules and other relevant information.
Games producers also need to consider a local approach to advertising, as different aspects of the gameplay are likely to appeal in some countries than in others. In the Casitabi オンラインカジノ (online casino) we can see how an online casino has been adapted to the Japanese market. As well as the use of the Japanese language, there are slots from the developer Shock based on the anime style and popular Asian table games like andar bahar and mahjong. The intention is to make Japanese players feel that the site has been designed exclusively for them by making note of their cultural landscape, drawing sources from their entertainment industry, and as well as history.
The Monopoly app from Marmalade Game Studio allows players from different regions to choose their country and get a localized board with cities or streets they are familiar with. In other cases, characters may need to be modified or different colors used, to fit in with the local culture.
As more of our traditional games move online for a global market, the question of localization is going to be even more important in the future.