One markets such as India. However, many challenges

One of the major Japanese gaming
industries, CAPCOM, has created multiple worldwide famous franchises from the
iconic Megaman to the massively
played fighter-game Street Fighter.
According to Luke Plunkett (2009), the fifth top-selling franchise, Monster Hunter, has gain about 8.5
million dollars in salG1 es
with 11 series released; however, only 16% of the franchise games are localized
for international markets and 1% is a China-only released, while the other 83%
are Japan-only released. This is occurring because of localization, it can be
both beneficial yet risky and costly. The term “localization” is the
translation of a product, application, or document content from one local
market to another (Ishida, 2015). In short, Localization is a decision game
industries make to explore other local markets. While some game industries
chose to localize and explore new markets, others chose not to localize due to
the risks and its difficult relationship with understanding culture. 

In fact, localization is key to explore
overseas markets. According to Xie Jun (2017), Chinese gaming industries, both
iconic and novice, are busy localizing their games to overseas markets and are
prospering. These game developers have not only set their sights on developed
countries such as Europe or the U.S., but also emerging markets such as India.
However, many challenges have been also emerging for these industries; for
example, translation and understanding of other cultures. Translation is a core
factor in localization. Incorrect translations can make the game confusing, in
turn, make the gamer frustrated. The game industry then loses a profit out of
the frustrated gamer because of those incorrect translations. Understanding
culture is a different story; one cannot simply localize Christmas-themed games
for markets like Arab or Africa or localize games that say terms that might be
greatly offensive in these markets (Liu Wanqin, as cited by Xie Jun, 2016). It is
similar if one who is white would say “negro” to a person of color.
Offensive games either don’t sell much or are rejected and taken immediately
off the shelves.  Fortunately, truly
offensive games in overseas markets these days are now an extremely rare
occurrence since industries now make changes that make these games acceptable
in other cultures.G2 
However, it is not as simple as Jun’s article portrayes.

As has been noted, game developers may
need to change a few aspects, visuals or applications, of their games for the
overseas markets. It is similar to censorship in Japanese animations for
non-Japanese countries such as the US and vice versa. For example, a character
in the original Japanese animation smokes a cigar; however, the cigar is
changed to a lollipop for the American viewers for the animation to be
acceptable in the US market. This is the same for games in localization;
nevertheless, the amount of changes differs to each overseas market. In
Localization, some countries, such as America and Japan allow most of the
game’s originality to remain; however, countries with the government
controlling the culture, such as Korea and China, the whole game is changed
into a different one all together under the same title (Pereira, 2010). According
to Pereira (2010), these changes in the games make the overseas market games
“versions” of the original in gaming terms making these industries
waste more time and money. If the original or Japanese version of a game has an
application to date either the opposite or a same-sex character, the
America-version does not have that application whatsoever, it has been taken
out of the game during localization of the original game due to not being
acceptable in the US culture by most Americans (2017, honeysanime.com). If a
game has already been developed and released, it makes it harder to localize
and sell in other markets Nicholson (2016) argues. Thus Game developers and
their industries must take measures before development to decide whether
localize the G3 G4 game
or not.

With this in mind, the gaming industries
must choose between using experts for quality translation or risk it with low-cost
to free online translation engines. Translation is not only a core aspect of
localization but a challenge. Each country or culture has its own language that
differs from one another. Translation between two languages can be either very
difficult or easy. For instance, the Chinese and Japanese language are similar
because of both use ‘character’ words in their writing and sentencesG5 
(Grigg, n.d.). In contrast, they also are entirely different because their
sentence and writing structure are two very different styles. Grigg argues that
language borders are a hard obstacle to pass as it is a part of the
understanding culture as well. G6 
This is where the gaming industry gets outside help. Although expensive, using
agencies who employ experts in translating languages makes the localization
process easier and secure, even faster in some cases. However, due to experts
being costly, as for Jun (2017) states, G7 small
industries use cheap/free online translation tools for low-cost localization.G8 
However, there are very few cheap translation tools that are equal if not
greater than the expensive translation experts Nicholson (2016) rebukes. Most
of the time, cheap translation tools create gaming translation fails and place
content a risk (Nicholson, 2016).Yet, translation is just a part of
localization.

To clarify, localization takes translation
a step further. Localization
not only translates a language from one locale to another but translates the
culture of one locale to another. In simple terms, localization
“translates” material created for another locale and remakes it for another
locale (Nicholson, 2016).  In the gaming
business, a game’s every aspect is translated for another locale’s market.
However, the culture created or portrayed in the game remains the same.  In some few cases, the game’s culture or the
franchise itself in melded into the other locales market culture. This is where
a game or gaming console becomes a part of a sub-culture. For instance, the Nintendo Wii and Wii U game entitled Wii
Sports has become a popular form of entertainment in retirement communities
across America (“The Impact of Video Games on Culture,” n.d.).  Cosplayers, artists who create, sell, and/or
wear accurate costumes from different multimedia sources, can enjoy creating
exact costumes of their avatars or character personas form the many
role-playing or online massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft. This is also where gaming industries can also
explore other markets such as toy, clothing, television, and even movie markets
overseas.  For instance, the famous video
game franchise Resident Evil has been
made into an equally famous movie series under the same nameG9 
(JTRW, 2014). However, Localization can have challenges in the rating system
for multimedia. In localization, game developers must keep in mind that each
country has its own rating system (Nicholson, 2016). To clarify, a game in one
country is rated T for Teens, the playable age range of teenager and up; while
in another country, the game is rated M for Mature, the playable age range of
young adult and up. In turn, placing another obstacle on Jun’s localization
creates prospering businesses through an easy understanding of culture.G10  To put it simply, G11 G12 localization of games is not without
some challenges to intimidate the industry and their developers before they can
reap the benefits.G13 

Localization can be beneficial for a
gaming company; yet, not without some risk to take. Localization is crucial in
exploring overseas markets of other locales; nevertheless, the developers must
understand the target market locales’ culture and rating systems in order to
prosper. In making the game acceptable for other markets, game developers must
be ready to change or even remove a certain aspect, character, or application
of their game before the development of the game even begins. Localization can
take time and money; for instance, using translation experts or tool can be a
great risk; whether it’s expensive or creates failed translations. Localization
translates all materials in a game for one locale to another, not just
translating the language or culture as Jun states in her 2017 article. However,
the localization can lead to a game culture or franchise melding with a
sub-culture. The risks are why most game series are not localized and why it is
hard to localize a game series, yet the benefits give way for some to be
released in other local markets.G14