It Pays To Localize Your Mobile Game

Published on Nov 19, 2019

by Marcos Dinnerstein

The world of mobile games is highly competitive. Getting noticed, getting downloads, and most importantly, getting people to pay for the full version of your game is difficult. So what can you do to improve the odds of making money from your game? 

Why localize your mobile game?

If you are reading a blog post on a translation site you probably know the answer, broadly speaking. And taking a closer look, we can point to a few compelling reasons to localize your mobile game. Bear in mind that localization means both translating and adapting to fit a different culture from the original version.

  • Showing your game in the local language provides a better user experience at the App Store level as well as when playing. It is more inviting when you can offer your game in multiple languages. Don’t provide a reason for someone to click away from you.

  • Your SEO results improve with keywords in multiple languages. (That means people find you more easily) 

  • You’ll generate reviews from other countries and more of those reviews are likely to be positive. That adds yet more SEO value.

In sum, localizing has cumulative benefits. Positive ratings mean greater visibility = more downloads = more revenue. That’s a virtuous cycle worth creating.

What markets should I localize for?

80% of mobile game revenue will come (2018 est.) from the top 6 language markets. The chart below shows the top 10 markets in the world for mobile apps. 

Source: https://allcorrectgames.com/insights/mobile-game-market-index/

Consider market size and regulatory challenges that may exist. China and South Korea each have unique cultural characteristics that include censorship. But in viewing those challenges it’s good to remember that in 2018, in China, there were 459 million mobile gamers (Source: https://www.abacusnews.com/digital-life/third-chinas-population-plays-mobile-games/article/2163084) and Chinese gamers accounted for 25% of global revenue. The rewards of capturing a share of the Chinese market might justify the expense. 

Do your research on market size, costs of localizing, marketing and all the associated costs to determine which markets to localize for. This is no small task and is beyond the scope of this article. The quote below sums it up well.

In Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, Mr. Micawber gives a recipe for happiness:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result, misery.

More income than outgo is another way to put it.

You won’t want to miss this video on localization. It points out the specific needs that game localization has versus pure translation.


And Finally…

A word of advice - don’t over-value the number of downloads. Unless you are earning substantial money from advertising this is a vanity metric. It’s cold hard cash from purchases that define success.

Read how MotaWord can help with you localize your mobile game:

Why Should You Run Your Website Localization Project On MotaWord?

The Case For Localization


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