Is it worth localizing casual games?

26 06 2008

Runes of Avalon 2 in top 10Gaming industry is global. That’s why we create games in English. To maximize the chance that the person that plays your game will understand it. But just because people can undrestand what your game is “saying” doesn’t mean they wouldn’t prefer to play it in their’s native language.

If you haven’t already localized your games, then start doing it now. While we still get most of our sales from English speaking territories, it looks like German, French and Spanish speaking territories can earn you a few more bucks. The good thing is that Big Fish Games will help you translate your game into German, French, Spanish and Japan (for free, but it’s up to them to decide whether they’ll do it or not). Casual games are not text heavy so it shouldn’t be that hard to get your game translated.

Those markets are not soo crowded so it is much easier to stand out and get into the Top 100 or even Top 10 charts. Runes of Avalon 2 launched on June 9, 2008 on BigFishGames.de and made much bigger impact on the site than it had on global BFG website. Some say they like match-3 games in Germany, but my guess is that it is smaller market and new games due to the spike of sales during launch have it easier to get high positions. Runes of Avalon 2 got into Top 10 and reached position #9, while on BFG.com it has reached “just” #32.

Another good thing about European versions of your game is that those games are sold to game club members for 5.99 EUR which converts to a little bit more than 9 USD (instead of 6.99 USD) so actually you’re earning 30% more. Most probably you would not be able to get into those markets on your own (do you have a dedicated website for each language?) so it doesn’t hurt your own direct sales.

I don’t know yet how much you can earn on those language versions, but I am sure it’s less than you can earn on English version (global vs local market). Still, it’s worth getting those extra bucks.

Another good thing is that once you get translated version of your game it can be much easier for you to get a retail publisher for that market.



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7 responses to “Is it worth localizing casual games?”

26 06 2008
Chris P (13:58:36) :

I don’t know yet how much you can earn on those language versions

Do let us know if you can, I’d be interested to see how the market sizes compare. :-) No need for specific numbers; something like “X% of RoA2’s gross income was from the French version, Y% was from the German version” etc. would be very interesting data just on its own.

27 06 2008
Evil Dan (03:45:25) :

I took a look at the Localization companies listed on Gamasutra and got a bit overwhelmed by all of the options. Any suggestions on where to start?

27 06 2008
Roman Budzowski (11:03:00) :

@Chris: I definately will share this info, but we all need to wait until August.

@Evil Dan: Why do you need a localization company? Just put all the texts in your game into one file (MS Excel or similar is prefered) and get someone to translate it for you. Then you can implement it on your own. Unless your game is adventure game (big) I wouldn’t bother with localization companies.

30 06 2008
no_name (16:04:50) :

Even if they sell in euro, BFG still give you the same amount in $ (yes, this is a little bit of a rip off). Also, you will not know the different territories. They are all grouped toghether into “International”.

30 06 2008
Roman Budzowski (16:56:31) :

Well, we will see. I will know at least the potential of German channel, because my game was not released on other channels yet.

1 07 2008
Roman Budzowski (17:04:12) :

Actually, I know why you may think that they still pay you $6.99 instead of 5.99 EUR – it’s because of VAT. I said that the difference between euro and global channels is 30% which is close to 22% VAT in some Euro countries. Unless 5.99 EUR does not include VAT.

2 07 2008
Jake Birkett (12:18:52) :

I wonder if your BFG NDA contract will prevent you from saying how well German sales performed in comparison to US sales.

Fairway was localised into German, French and Spanish. It actually had quite a lot of text and graphics to change and took me quite a while even though I already had planned ahead and made a localised text file. The main problem was the space I left on-screen for English was too small for German, and also German needs that special B they use. There were lots of other sub-issues too. Anyway, it was worth it as the game did well on those other sites and generated considerable revenue. So I agree with you that it’s worth doing especially as BFG do it for free.

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