Mobilising Games to Go Global: Internationalisation and Localisation

The days of the Cold War are long past and have been replaced by the hotter topic of global warming. ‘Colonisation’ and ‘Super-power’ may actually have become dirty words in these days when global harmony and fair play are the mantras for our planet’s survival.

However, in the last few years, there has been a new power entity slowly but steadily rising on the horizon: Enter the APP Store Super Power!

In 2014, Japan and South Korea made huge strides and surpassed the USA by revenue on Google Play. Reports put China at #3 by revenue on the Apple App store. South East Asia is a HUGE emerging market- Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam account for almost all the game revenue in this area of the planet.

What is the takeaway from all this?
1. Language is no barrier.
2. The appeal of gaming and mobile gaming is a worldwide phenomenon.
3. Big bucks are involved and this means cutthroat competition and planning in minute detail to drive successful apps and games.
4. Game and app internationalization and localisation drive mobility in apps and games.
5. Not least of all, the quest of humans for easy entertainment is now quite literally in the palms of the hands- holding the mobile phone. Never has the opposable thumb been put to such vigorous use.

The game must go on! PS1 ROMs

A stationary stone gathers moss

The driving force behind any business is profit. The gaming world is no different. This is a highly competitive world and the gaming market is killer. To survive, evolve, and bring home the bacon, apps and games need not just to be entertaining to the boy-next-door: they need to capture new platforms and markets. And they need to be fast and furious about it or fall by the wayside.

How can they do this?

Internationalistion and localisation
This two-step process is what enables a game to adapt to different regional and linguistic cultures. It must include:
Reviewing the language and regional settings which will determine which localisation is used as well as the date, time, and number formats.
Adapting the user interface
The code must handle multi-language text
Locale (not the language) settings must drive data formatting as multiple countries might use the same language, as also the same individual travelling across different countries.
User interface must be ‘mirrored’ while using right to left languages; the only exception here would probably be phone numbers.
It is also necessary to test the internationalized app or game to detect auto-layout problems and strings that are not part of the internationalization-localisation process.

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