BLEND’s Study: Localization’s Role in Global Gaming Market Success
BLEND’s Study: Localization’s Role in Global Gaming Market Success
Over the last two decades, localization has been and continues to be an integral part of the global gaming industry’s success. In 2021, the gaming market was valued at USD $198 billion. It is expected to reach a value of USD $340 billion by 2027.
The global COVID-19 pandemic, alongside wider access to smartphones and 5G services, has drawn many to gaming platforms. Adjacent to a widening customer base is a growing number of businesses who are recognizing the opportunity to go “global” through gaming. This has led to an increase in the number of companies across the gaming ecosystem by tenfold.
This study by BLEND will introduce what localization is and how it can be used in gaming. It offers newer and younger gaming brands insight on localization strategies and tactics used by some of the top online gaming companies in 2022. The methods mentioned below have been key to their expansion efforts and part of why they have achieved success in external markets (outside of their market origin).
Today players do not need a gaming console to participate in gaming activities. This is in part due to the internet and the rise of an entirely new category, mobile gaming. By default, this means gaming companies can no longer rely on simply having a good game to carry out a successful launch. They also need to consider various cultural and societal implications that may affect whether or not certain demographics will or will not engage with their gaming products.
By identifying gaming localization metrics that are considered core to a successful expansion, brands will be more prepared to engage and connect with external markets. Companies can:
- Gain a better understanding of current gaps that may impact their customer experience and brand potential
- Effectively re-evaluate current strategies and
- Devise expansion plans that include key localization practices that will enhance their overall global brand presence.
- Uncover core localization metrics used by major gaming brands
- Identify the portion of top-ranked brands that deploy localization strategies and
- Offer gaming brands localization strategies to consider that can be adapted for global gaming success.
By localizing key aspects of the gaming experience, local brands can grow globally and provide a more suitable experience to each and every one of their target audiences.
This report breaks down and identifies localization metrics used by the Top 50 gaming brands as ranked by SimilarWeb in carrying out successful global expansion.
BLEND analyzed SimilarWeb’s July 2022 data report to determine the most popular websites in the Game Category based on various engagement metrics. Data from the top 5 websites were further extracted and closely assessed – including the origin of each website, the countries they cater to, and more.
In Image #1 (below), the chart identifies the Top 50 Gaming Websites and that they come from a variety of countries. These findings illustrate that gaming has become popular globally and that more local companies are expanding across borders. The 50 gaming websites analyzed originate from the following countries: the United States, Korea, the Netherlands, China, Japan, Canada, Colombia, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Vietnam, Norway, Denmark, and Singapore.
BLEND’s 360-degree review revealed several major takeaways for gaming brands.
High-level findings are below:
- 48% of the top 50 gaming websites offer more than four language choices to their overall audience to enable a localized and native experience.
- 33 of the top fifty brands attract more than 20% of website traffic from external countries.
- Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation all offer their websites in over 40 languages worldwide, drawing over 65% of their site traffic from foreign markets.
- USA-based gaming website Epic Games receives a whopping 90% of its web visits from foreign traffic around the world, with its second greatest chunk of web traffic coming from China.
- The acclaimed video gaming website Electronic Arts receives a similarly impressive 82% percent of its web traffic from foreign visitors and is available in 24 languages. However, its most popular consumer base comes from its place of origin, the United States.
- The top five gaming websites ranked by share of traffic from external countries are HLTV, Epic Games, FUTBIN, Lichess, and Steam Powered.
Going global is extremely important, especially for brands across specific sectors. From the findings, several conclusions and trends were revealed.
Alongside a gaming product itself, marketing efforts also need to be localized to match the expectations of each individual target market. This means engaging with gamers in their native tongue at every stage of the buyer journey, for example, is important to cut through the noise of the industry and help companies better resonate with preexisting and prospective gamers.
The current global gaming market consists of 2.9 billion active players, which means there is a huge need to cater to a diverse audience of gamers.
Therefore, taking cultural norms into account – everything from cultural symbols to history and characters should be vetted carefully. The use of local experts to examine video game curation prior to development may considerably increase your chances of appealing to a wider market.
Gamers worldwide are looking for immersive experiences with characters and plotlines they can connect to. Voice-over and audio play a large role in how well players can relate to a game’s characters and world. Finding the right voice-over artists to suit character personas is important to give players a consistent experience in every language. Consider different voice-over artists for different countries. With thoughtful voice-over and audio localization, gamers in specific locales will likely enjoy a more authentic experience.
Beyond addressing cultural expectations, companies will need to cater to societal ones. Meaning, for example, some gamers may want to travel seamlessly with the games they are playing. PC or laptops are not always the best for this, but if players have access to games via mobile or tablets, they will likely prolong the time they spend playing a specific game.
Ultimately, having a deep understanding of each target market allows gaming companies to better cater to their markets’ needs and preferences. Without localization, companies risk making themselves inaccessible to millions of gamers worldwide. Gaming localization is non-negotiable for multimarket gaming success.
Link to May 2022 SimilarWeb study: https://www.similarweb.com/top-websites/category/games/
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