What Languages to Localize Your Console Game Into
So, you're developing a console game - awesome!
Before you get too deep into development, you should consider which languages you want to localize into.
The availability of consoles isn’t equal worldwide, so you’ll need to take that and many other elements into consideration before making your choice.
First things first - which console are you developing for?
Consoles aren’t all and the same in terms of accessibility and popularity across the world!
Below, you’ll see our suggestions for the top countries to localize for when it comes to consoles in a general sense. However, before you make your final decision, make sure you look into penetration rates for the specific console you’re developing for.
For instance, some countries will see more success with the Nintendo Switch, while others will work better for Playstation or Xbox One games.
Which countries and languages to localize your console game for?
As a rule of thumb, choosing EFIGS languages (English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish) for consoles works well, in addition to Polish - and you’ll soon see why.
If you're already developing in English, you probably don’t need to hear why it’s a good idea to do so. But if your console game’s main language is anything else, you should seriously consider localizing into English.
Gaming consoles are hugely popular in English-speaking countries with large populations, such as the US. The expected revenue in the US for gaming consoles alone is $6.75 billion in 2020!
And if you’re wondering which consoles are doing well in the US, you can rest easy knowing you’ll have a good chance of succeeding no matter the console:
In the US, 39 million Playstation, 30 million Xbox One, and 6.2 million Nintendo Switch consoles had been sold by 2019. This isn't counting what has been sold up to this day, now that we are well into the second half of 2020.
And if you’re worried the market is getting saturated, there's no need! The console market in the US is expected to keep growing and reach $51 billion by 2027.
The Polish language isn’t traditionally associated with EFIGS, but that doesn’t mean you should discount Poland when localizing an indie console game.
The majority of internet users in Poland - about 76% of them - play video games. However, not all consoles are equally popular there.In 2019, more than half of gamers played on the PlayStation 4, while 33% played on Xbox One.
Because these consoles have an important user base, Poland could be a great candidate for the localization of console games - unless you’re developing for the Nintendo Switch alone.
Although mobile games are the most popular types of games for Spanish players, the Nintendo Switch has seen increasing success! Ten months after the Switch hit the shelves, it had already surpassed Xbox One sales, with overr 300K units sold.
The PlayStation is also pretty popular in Spain. So if you are developing either for the Switch or the Playstation 4, you’re good to go!
Currently, the most popular gaming genres in Spain revolve around action games such as platformers and fighting games.
Italy ranks 36 out of 100 countries when it comes to English proficiency, which is relatively low. So if you’re developing in English first and want Italians to play your console game, you will need to localize in Italian.
This is especially important if you’re developing a complex, text-heavy game like an RPG, where it’s important for players to understand what’s being communicated in the game..
Note too, that 48% of Italian gamers use consoles as their gaming device of choice!
Plus, the gaming market in Italy hit $1.7 billion by 2017, so it remains a sizable market to dig into.
In 2017, the French console market alone was worth $784 million! When you compare this to the 2018 numbers, where the entire gaming industry was worth $3.1 billion, a third of players used consoles, which means that the French console market is still growing.
You should also know that playing games in French is important to gamers in France. The country ranks slightly higher than Italy in English proficiency, standing at 31 out of 100, which means localization is still a must if you want to target the French market.
However, if you can only afford to localize one version of French, choose the standard French dialect. Although you may find an audience with Canadian French localizations, nearly half of Quebeckers (the French province of Canada) speak both English and French.
European French players may also not enjoy playing games that are localized for Canadian French, since the dialect is so different.
Consoles are the second biggest gaming platform in Germany - with mobile being at the top of that list.For instance, in 2018, console owners spent €1.3 billion on console games and services!
In contrast, PC sales did not even reach €1 billion, making only €0.6 billion. Not bad numbers by any means, but you can see why localizing your console game fo Germany is a good choice!
Plus, almost a third of households - 28% - own at least one gaming console in Germany.
However, when compared to Italy and France, English proficiency in Germany is pretty high! It ranks 10th out of 100 countries.
But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t localize for Germany. However, if you have to choose between Germany and Italy or France due to time or budget constraints, France and Italy should definitely come first.
In Germany, some of the most popular game genres include:
Answer your localization questions early on
Just as you would with an indie PC or mobile game, you need to figure out what you will do for localization as early on in development as possible, especially considering how complicated the submission process can be for console games.
Consider your localization team as part of your regular development team. Bring them on board as early as possible and they will generate a much higher quality localization than if they are shoehorned in later.
Need to localize your indie console game? Get in touch with us to discuss your project!