Which Languages Should I Provide? Top Ten Markets for Mobile Games
This year, we've been thoroughly analyzing the mobile games markets across different countries. The aim of this project is for us to be able to provide the game developers with a recommendation as to which languages they should choose for localization.
These are some very frequent questions among indie and startup companies: "What language should we localize our games into? What new markets should we be entering?" That is why we tried to give some advice on which countries' markets are "easy" or "difficult" with respect to these issues.
The following charts and details can be used to help determine which languages to provide for mobile games.
Ten countries generate 50-80% of market revenue for mobile games. To enter these markets requires localization in 15 languages. It is also necessary to take into account the differences between American and British English, as well as the fact that there are two forms of written Chinese.
User Statistics for the Largest Markets for Mobile Games
Interesting facts about the mobile markets in these countries:
- Apple tablets have top market share in the majority of countries.
- BBM (BlackBerry) is widespread in Indonesia.
- Apps must be translated into 5 languages to enter the Indian market thoroughly.
- To release an Android game in China, you need to distribute your app to 20—minimum 10—local Android app stores.
- China, German and South Korea have the strictest gaming laws.
- Indonesia has the largest Muslim population.
- Twitter is the most popular social network in Japan.
- In South Korea, hacking a game is punishable by a fine of up to $43,000 or up to 5 years in prison.
- As of 2015, there were 707 languages in Indonesia and 454 in India.
The commonly used acronym for the main localization languages is EFIGS + CJK. This stands for English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. However, now would appear to be the moment to rethink this traditional list.
Localizing mobile games in the languages spoken in the top ten countries by revenue allows you to access other markets as well; for example, Mexican Spanish is spoken by a significant percentage of US residents, and Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh. The target countries and languages for localization are listed below:
- China—Chinese in Simplified and Traditional written forms (982 million native speakers).
- USA—American English.
- India—English, Hindi (650 million native speakers, official state language), Telugu (over 89.7 million native speakers), Bengali (83 million native speakers in India, 215 million globally), Tamil (over 66 million native speakers, one of the official languages of Sri Lanka and Singapore), Kannada (over 40.3 million native speakers, the language spoken in Bangalore: India's "Silicon Valley").
- Japan—Japanese (127 million native speakers).
- South Korea—Korean (78 million native speakers).
- United Kingdom—British English.
- Mexico—Mexican Spanish (125 million native speakers).
- Indonesia—Indonesian (around 20 million use it in everyday life), Javanese (80-100 million speakers), Sundanese (over 27 million speakers).
- France—French (79 million native speakers).
- Germany—German (105 million native speakers).
Mark Twain wrote that there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics." We hope that our alternative round-up of the attractiveness of mobile markets will allow mobile game developers to get a better handle on the sector and earn more money.