Argentina: A Burgeoning Game Development Market

A globalization success; Formerly low development costs turn into high quality

The video game industry has seen an explosion in Latin America over the past ten years as developers have begun to meet industry standards after previously being a place known for cheap labor.

Historically, the video game industry has been concentrated in the US, Europe and Asia, but Latin American developers have emerged while attracting funding for game development for brands Facebook and MTV.

“It has been proven that [the Latin American video game] industry is really up to the standards, and we can compete with good quality works coming from the most important markets abroad. It’s not about costs as much as it used to be,” says Hernán Rozenwasser, CEO of QB9. “Another thing that sets us apart is our artistic traditions: Argentina has always produced high-quality movies, television and music, and that shows up in our work too.”

Software globalization brought cheaper access to hardware and software for universities and schools, allowing those with their eye on software development to pursue something they loved. Political and socioeconomic hardship have led Latin American young people to develop a fierce independent streak, an attribute critical for tech innovation.

Many of the industry’s most recognized names are attending trade shows in South America:

James Portnow, CEO of Seattle-based Rainmaker Games, who was a keynote speaker at the Argentina Video Games Exposition in Buenos Aires on November 11, said: “Five years ago, when I first started looking at Latin America, there was no gaming industry here; you had some people really hoping, really passionate about games, but no actual businesses. Today, I see a burgeoning market.

“Latin America still has a relatively small gaming community. There is so much potential, so I would encourage developers here to concentrate on building up their internal market.”

The trend is expected to continue as mobile and social game applications gain steam internationally.

For more, read Argentina’s video gamers take on the world

Want to learn more about adapting mobile and social games for international markets? Attend our free webinar on December 1st at 11am PT: Lingoport.com/mobile-games-webinar


World Gaming Executive Magazine Launch

The gaming community recently saw the release of a comprehensive digital magazine targeting world gaming executives and providing in-depth articles for the those in all facets of the gaming community. Below is an excerpt from World Gaming Executives Director John Armstrong:

Great news on the launch of World Gaming Executives Magazine WGE:MAG just 2 weeks ago. Since that time, there have been over 2500 downloads, the number of daily visitors to www.worldgamingexecutives.com has doubled and one particular article in the magazine has been picked up by dozens of gaming magazines including Eurogamer (and translated into 6 languages -that we know of).

Not seen the magazine yet? Take a look here:
http://www.worldgamingexecutives.com/page/articles-2

An interesting idea shared in the magazine is that of grabbing your audiences attention. No matter what business you’re in, your goal is to earn attention from your customers, both current and potential. Without attention there is no business. Brands have been jumping on the gaming trend to further increase their interaction with customers. Zynga, for example, has created its own virtual economy where users can purchase upgrades for their games and advertisers can target specific users. This must be done subtly, however, as gamers don’t like clunky in-your-face ads.

But where is the next wave of attention coming from? With the emergence of more developed and sophisticated users internationally, it’s hard to ignore the emerging opportunities to globalize social and mobile games. To learn more about these trends, and the projected value of adapting games to new locales, I encourage you to read Social & Mobile Apps and Globalization – Confessions of a g11n Veteran 


Sign up for an interactive webinar on December 1st at 11am PST on how to take your mobile games and apps global

Mobile & Global Business

With the recent surpassing of mobile web traffic over classic PC-based traffic, emphasis has been placed on businesses to establish themselves in the mobile realm. However, much of this mobile growth is coming internationally, leading to a need to integrate mobile development with localization.

Projections

Everyday we read the “latest projections” for mobile, each telling us a different statistic, but all demonstrating the same idea: mobile usage is surpassing PC usage and mobile usage is increasing in developing countries. ABI Research has indicated that mobile commerce will grow to $119bn by 2015. That a number that is hard to ignore, especially so when mobile phones often provides the only pathway to the internet for users in developing countries.

What Does This Mean for Global Business?

Businesses without an established plan to capitalize on increasing mobile use in developing markets are sure to fail in those markets. Surely, if one’s competition is localizing their mobile efforts in a market, then consumers in that market will prefer their products as if those products are their own. It’s a large initiative, but the process may already be in place…

Localization and Mobile

Companies that have previously localized their websites need only to adapt their site to mobile. This process is mostly test-intensive and involves checking functionality across mobile platforms. Localizing mobile apps is test-intensive as well, stemming from the differences in Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows mobile operating systems.

It’s obviously important for businesses to keep up with these emerging trends to stay ahead of the competition. Assuming, however, competing businesses are operating under similar global initiatives, it comes down to who does it better; who has the best tools.

More Information on Mobile & Globalization

Stay tuned for an informational webinar on Thursday, December 1st from Lingoport CEO Adam Asnes and LocLabs CEO Danica Brinton who has worked on mobile and game localization strategies with many top global companies.

Growth of the Gadget

Use of PC’s has increased at a steady rate while use of tablets and smartphones forcasts to be increasing at an exponential rate in recent years. Also note how use of devices will increase in foreign countries in the coming years.

Do you have the strategies in place to become global ready and take advantage of this expanding foreign market?

Netflix Announces Streaming Expansion to UK & Ireland

Netflix to Launch Service in the UK and Ireland for Streaming Movies and TV Shows in Early 2012

Netflix announced today that they will expand their streaming services to the UK and Ireland by early 2012, a move that will offer unlimited streaming to internet devices for users in those locales.

Netflix has expanded its international reach greatly in recent years by expanding to Canada in 2010 and to 43 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in September 2011.

For more information please visit http://netflix.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=415

Game Localization: the Basics

With a number of foreign markets emerging with buying power and tech-aptitude, product managers are focusing more on adapting their products to those foreign markets. This is especially the case with the emergence of smart phones and social networks that are capable of providing a platform for games. The combination of these emerging markets and emerging game platforms has led to an emphasis on localization for game developers.

Game localization is the process of preparing a game for a new locale. It goes beyond simple translation to consider linguistic issues, hardware issues and cultural differences that each target locale requires. Like all forms of localization, game localization has become a paramount task for developers to undertake when creating a new game with so much of the game market coming from non-English speaking countries. From context for translation, to understanding cultural differences, ensuring quality is paramount to a successful international release.

Language

“All your base are belong to us” – an infamous line from the 1991 video game Zero Wing that has become something of a cultural hit. Translating a video game’s dialogue is a tricky task. Translators need to work off of context, something that standalone video game text does not provide. With so many games now allowing users to make their own decisions, the context for each point of dialogue is different in each instant. Planning ahead and providing context to the translation team, instead of just a translation sheet, assures better quality, and better ease of translation.
Also take into consideration that different languages use a different amount of text to convey the same idea. Don’t overlook resizing of text boxes, and ensure that there is enough space available for the necessary text.

Culturalization

Like any product being prepared for a new locale, cultural aspects must be considered when localizing. Games are no different. Typically, gamers in Japan are drawn to younger game characters on a quest to find themselves while American gamers are drawn to older, more rugged ones. The perception of violence, blood and gore in video games will also affect public opinion on a localized game. Keeping track of where those aspects of the game are in your development process will save time when localizing. Do the necessary research to understand what your target market values in a game. Take care of this first, it will prove valuable in the long run.

Legal

Countries have different governing bodies that enforce ratings on games. Issues with violence, sex or foul language must be considered when preparing a game for a new locale. It is possible that a game can be banned if it does not meet the standards set in place by the governing body in a new territory.

Conclusion
Ensuring that all these steps are taken will grant a more successful international release. Taking note of where localization issues will arise, during the initial game development process, will save time and money when aiming for a simultaneous release in multiple markets.

Gamers take value in high-quality games. Taking the necessary steps to understand a foreign market is valuable to the success of a localized game. Developing games for multiple locales? Visit Lingoport.com for internationalization support.

Website Localization: Factors to Consider

The Emergence of Brazil

With nearly one-third of the world population using the internet, more and more opportunities are arising for people to communicate and for companies to reach new markets. Adapting an e-commerce website to a new locale has become an essential way for online businesses to survive and thrive in new markets. In an insightful post from the GPI Translation Blog, we learn first hand some of the strategies that go into localizing a website for a new locale; specifically Brazil.

Brazil will be in the world spotlight in the coming years with the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. China gets the headlines as the next economic superpower, but Brazil lies-in-wait as another market ready to explode. With a current base of 50 million Internet users, Brazil presents an excellent business opportunity for companies. But what specifically must be done to sell to these new consumers? Selling strategies in the United States do not stick in Brazil; new approaches must be developed.

Brazilian Market

  • The Internet is predominantly used by upper and middle-classes, but government initiatives have worked to gain funding for Internet cafes to help lower income groups have Internet access.

Brazilian Consumers & Culture

  • Brazilian society places high importance on looking good and appearance.
  • Brazilians prefer goods made within their own country whenever possible.
  • Decision-making power for Brazilian women has increased.
  • Brazilians are often budget-conscious and look for the absolute best value they can find.
  • Latin cultures place great emphasis on family and community, Brazil included.
  • Brazilian culture values masculinity which can be depicted as achievement, success, adventure and fun.

Brazilian Portuguese vs. European Portuguese

  • When localizing a website for Brazil, consider many of the spelling and verb tense differences within the two main Portuguese dialects.

SEO & SEM in Brazil

  • As all marketing strategies go, Brazilian SEO campaigns need to be multidimensional.
  • Be advised that while focusing on Portuguese search terms is important, bilingual users also use English to search and navigate the Internet.
  • Keywords and key phrases need not just be translated. Cultural and linguistic issues affect what people search for.

For more information on this subject, please visit:  http://blog.globalizationpartners.com/brazilian-website-localization.aspx

Debunking the Hispanic Technology-Use Stereotype

In a recent interview by eMarketer with Marla Skiko, Director of Digital Innovation of SMG Multicultural, we discover that the Hispanic market is in fact thriving as a technology market, refuting the myth that the demographic are typically late adopters of technology.

There are a number of assumptions companies make when honing in on the Hispanic market when it comes to technology and tech products; many of which are mere myths that, when uncovered, reveal a thriving market. The value Hispanics place on their heritage is an essential understanding to how they engage online. Hispanic families are typically larger and very open with each other. This cultural knack for openness and sharing lends itself nicely to social media, and as Skiko states in her interview, “With Latinas, when you create something that’s relevant, it becomes a part of their life, it’s what they’re interested in.” The next step is where marketers come in and join the conversation. Skiko also states that not only does the same technology trendsetter status (especially with younger users) appeal to the Hispanic market as it does many other markets, but emerging technologies like mobile phones and voice-over IP are more cost effective. There’s no point to use a landline when only one person can use it at a time!

There are perceptions that Hispanics are typically late adopters of technology and aren’t frequenters of the Internet. These perceptions, as Skiko says, are false, and there is research to prove it. Marketers aren’t looking in the right places and aren’t taking the necessary time to understand the Hispanic consumer. If marketers and advertisers “bring them relevant content and reach out to them with messages that resonate,” then they will find success.

For the full article, please visit http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1008592

We recently held a webinar on culturalizing your company’s brand. For information specific on culturalizing for Hispanic markets, view the recording here and start at the 48:25 mark: http://vimeo.com/28169868

 

 

Webinar Recording: Justifying Software Globalization to Management

Last week we held a webinar on justifying the globalization of software to management and received a great deal of interest.  Loic Dufresne de Virel, Localization Strategist at Intel joined Adam Asnes, Founder & CEO of Lingoport for an informative one-hour discussion on the specifics of how to clearly communicate the needs for software internationalization.

Key points of the presentation

  • Business case for i18n
  • Development hurdles
  • Costs: opportunity costs & product costs
  • What happens without i18n?
  • 30-minute question & answer session: what does Intel do for internationalization?

Webinar Recording: Product Brand Culturalization

Exposing your brand in the correct, culturalized form is an essential first step in success in foreign markets. We recently held a webinar on Product Brand Culturalization to help companies grasp the strategies needed to reap a significant ROI in foreign markets. Thank you to all who attended.

Google High-Quality Sites Algorithm Launched in Additional Languages

Originally posted on the Google Webmaster Central Blog 

Google, of late, has been placing an emphasis on returning more high-quality sites to users. Initially, this was a change for searches in English, but Google recently announced they’re including their search improvements for different languages. With an increase in internet use from non-English speakers in recent years, this effort by Google makes sense.

I wrote previously about Google’s internationalization efforts, and this just goes as further evidence that Google is taking its global initiatives seriously. Features previously available only in the US are becoming more and more available to international users, which is a good thing.

Google also noted that they are waiting to launch the high-quality search algorithm in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, where they continue to run tests on their improvements.

Things change fast. This Google Webmaster video was posted just days prior to the international release…

Product Brand Culturalization

Join us for an upcoming webinar on on Thursday, August 25 on adapting your product and brand for specific cultures and markets. Presented by localization and internationalization veterans Talia Baruch and Chris Raulf, this presentation will discuss the challenges that companies take on when moving their brand to a global market. Through their experiences, Baruch and Raulf have developed a deep understanding of what it takes to develop a great relationship between a brand and the needs of the global marketplace.

Registration

Webinar: “Product Brand Culturalization”
Date and Time: Thursday, August 25 at 11am PT / Noon MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET
Registration: Register for free @ https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/642793497
Where: Your desktop
Presenters: Talia Baruch, Localization & Culturalization Consultant, Copyous and Chris Raulf, Marketing Director, Lingoport

This presentation targets business managers, marketing managers, product managers, internationalization and localization managers, and anyone else wanting to learn more about the product localization, internationalization, and culturalization process.

For more detailed information, please visit http://www.lingoport.com/webinars/product-brand-culturalization/

The Challenges of Bidirectional Languages

With the emergence of western relations with the Middle East, emphasis on bidirectionalization (sometimes written as b18n or BiDi) of web applications has increased in recent years. In basic terms, bidirectional languages contain text from multiple alphabets and content written in both left-to-right and right-to-left forms.

This past February, Roozbeh Pournader, an internationalization expert at HighTech Passport, spoke on this issue and offered a number of insights and ideas as to how to overcome bidirectional hurdles within software internationalization and localization. You can see a screen shot from the presentation to the right where some bidirectional issues are explored (notice the sentence structure). Pournader touches on the fact that in order to localize your application into a bidirectional language, you basically have to hack your own program; it isn’t easy. But when looked at in the right light, bidirectionalization is an opportunity to enter a new market and gain trust with a new group. It’s just part of the internationalization and localization process; do it right the first time and you’ll be rewarded.

Roozbeh Pournader’s talk focuses on the common problems of bidirectionalization, current approaches taken by the industry, and gives suggestions for avoiding headaches while providing some examples of bidirectionalization for web apps.

Also, be sure to read up on bidirectionalization with a great whitepaper from Enlaso: http://www.enlaso.com/Language_Tech_Center/White_Papers/Content/103_Arabic_and_Bidirectional_Challenges.pdf

Can Internationalization be Pursued Within Your Own Country?

At the root of the word internationalization is the word international, implying that internationalization is strictly a foreign endeavor. This, however, is a common misconception. In the 2010 Census, over 50 million people indicated they were of Latino or Hispanic origin (16.3% of the total US population), of which roughly 50% identifies itself as having limited English skills, meaning that there are important considerations to make for companies in  marketing and branding efforts. Part of these efforts, of course, are involved in the localization of products and content for different locales (including different locales in your own back yard).

Localization sells in such a way that most businesses have yet to grasp. People are most comfortable buying in a language that they understand, so businesses need to take advantage of the emerging buying power of non-English speakers.  Ideas? Prepare your website for new locales or write your site in a clear, concise voice so that it can be more easily translated by an automatic service like Google Translate.

In the coming weeks I will touch on other ways companies can capitalize on emerging locales. Stay tuned!

Is Globalization Endangering Increasingly Rare Languages?

This blog post is a summary of a post written by Nigel Hollis for the M&M Blog.

The trend in language and globalization suggests that rare languages only spoken by a few people in specific areas are dying off. Nigel Hollis suggests the opposite is happening is some areas as teenagers in places like the Philippines, Mexico and Chile are reviving their local languages through social media. This attraction to dying languages is an interesting way for young people to identify with a group and feel like they belong. I often see this phenomenon within groups of friends after you have spent a great deal of time with them. You develop your own language or “code”; different phrases have different meanings, inside jokes are developed, and only the people within your group understand the full meaning behind everything you say.

But this developing trend has important consequences that global businesses need to consider. As I have touched on before, social media acts as the face of a company; the place were consumers and potential consumers communicate with each other and with the company about their wants, needs and concerns. Hollis notes groups want to affirm their cultural identity in the face of globalization. People like to stay in their comfort zone, so it is important for companies to provide a forum where their customers feel comfortable. Applying a specific strategy in each locale is paramount to the long-term success of a global business.

For the full article, please visit http://blog.creamglobal.com/right_brain_left_brain/2011/07/digital-media-facilitate-localization-as-well-as-globalization.html

Brazil Emerging as Game Localization Market

Brazil’s emergence on the tech scene has allowed game developers a whole new market to cater to. Recently, Hazit Online Games partnered with Brussels, Belgium-based localization company MO Group International to help aid their localization development for games in Brazil. The full press release is available here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/pressreleases/73785/Hazit_Online_Games_Chooses_MO_Group_International_for_SecondMMO_Localization_Project.php

Successful localization in Brazil is a great example for companies looking to take advantage of new emerging markets, especially for games. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, companies are taking advantage of Chinese emergence by providing free access to software and providing paid add-ons once trust is established. This sort of market understanding is a successful localization strategy in that companies need not only to translate, but adapt their software and marketing strategy upon entering a new locale.

How Sports Globalization Reflects the Internationalization Process

As for any global undertaking, there are huge questions when entering new markets. This is no different for a software company facing internationalization issues or a sports franchise pursuing a globally-recognizable brand.  I came across an abstract for a paper on the internationalization process of soccer team brands (run a search for “internationalization of football team brands” and it will be your first option) and realized that the same concerns that a team trying to spread its brand to a new market has, occur with any company with a global outlook.  In past years, the NFL has played one regular season game per year in London in an effort to promote the game abroad. Similar efforts have been taken by the MLB, NBA and NHL as they expand their market reach.

Firms measure success with internationalization when, after entering a new locale, the firm sees greater economic success. Whether it’s a sports franchise or a firm pursuing an international reach, the measurements are simple: if sales are greater internationally after undertaking an internationalization effort, then it was worth it.

But just throwing a product out on an international market is seldom good enough. Foreign customers need something to grab on to; something they can relate with. For example, popularity of the NBA exploded after Yao Ming became a star because Chinese fans had someone they can relate to. The NBA was no longer some foreign pro sports league, it was a league they had a direct influence on.

Now this may be a leap in logic, but I consider the same idea to be applicable to localization. International markets will seldom use a product that isn’t identified as their own; whether it is because it’s in another language, has non-intuitive instructions or whatever it may be that is lost in translation. On the contrary, when a product as identified as local in nature and as something that is useful, naturally positive results will follow.

If you have any thoughts on this, please don’t hesitate to comment below.

How Well is Google Internationalized?

In a recent Google Webmasters video, Google’s Matt Cutts explains Google’s internationalization strategy as an ongoing project. Google is one of the most internationalized websites in the world and is available in over 100 languages, but many of its features are not available outside of the US.

As anybody who travels around the world knows, there are all sorts of regulations to overcome when crossing a border. Information on the web can be thought of in the same manner; some countries require more “credentials”.

Globalyzer 3.5 Released; Helps Companies Gain Edge in International Markets

With the emergence of international markets as an alternative to a struggling domestic market, companies are looking towards expanding their reach to more foreign markets. In an article published by The China Daily, it is noted that exports have accounted for half of all economic growth since 2009 in the US.

Lingoport’s release of Globalyzer 3.5 is a step forward in internationalization tools. Software companies can more easily streamline their internationalization process in any software development language, and do so in a more efficient manner in order to produce applications that are world ready.

Adam Asnes and Olivier Libouban of Lingoport are holding a webinar on Tuesday, April 19 at 9am EDT & 2pm EDT to present a general overview of the new Globalyzer 3.5 software and to demonstrate how the tool finds, categorizes, tracks, and helps fix internationalization bugs in source code using static analysis.

For more information and to register, please visit http://www.lingoport.com/optimizing-internationalization-i18n-with-globalyzer-3-5

Macroeconomic Argument for American Companies to Internationalize

Summary of article by Philip Guarino of Elementi Consulting (see link below)

You hear it in the news everyday… bad economy this, bad economy that. But are there opportunities that an otherwise good economy would not present?

That answer is yes.

Data gathered by the US Department of Commerce shows that American consumers are spending less and saving more. With exports playing a relatively small part in US GDP, this means that the domestic market that so many companies rely on isn’t yielding the same level of demand that it once did. Additionally, with the depreciating dollar, the power of the money earned domestically is also decreasing. The kicker here is that the dollar is now cheaper for foreign countries to buy. This gives foreign countries more incentive to import products from the US.

The next step is how; how can US companies take advantage of a devalued dollar in a struggling economy? Through internationalization of their products, US companies can make their products more appealing to foreign buyers, thus capitalizing on the increased buying power in the foreign market.

For the full article, visit http://www.elementiconsulting.com/insights/the-export-imperative/

Lingoport has helped companies reach international markets since 2001: http://www.lingoport.com/