Back in the day, many of our favorite video games were created with a specific market in mind, typically one local to that of the game’s developers. If the product was a hit, the publisher often scrambled to replicate that success around the world, creating new versions for different regions as quickly as possible. As time went on, producers planned for localized versions of games, but often left those tasks for the end of the production cycle, causing release delays to foreign markets.
Today we’re seeing more day-and-date global releases of many popular titles, so much so that the concept of globalization in the game industry may seem quaint. At this point, many game companies have globalization specialists on staff, who coordinate translations and hiring of voice actors and oversee the tweaking of a game’s story, dialogue, or even characters to best suit its intended foreign audience. But there is an aspect of these worldwide releases that may not be immediately apparent to developers — what happens after the game is released.
With video games spawning a plethora of online communities, where gamers come together to interact in real-time gameplay, the globalization of the industry can present new challenges. How can players on such services as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network communicate in their disparate languages, whether in-game or on related forums and websites? Online multiplayer, cooperative, AR/VR, and PVP games have brought about a concurrent rise in international groups and guilds. And that’s where a global, multilingual engagement and moderation team comes in handy.
It’s not enough to provide support in English only, even if it is considered an international language. The best support is native language support, where the person on the other end of the line knows the local idioms and customs. A support agent who understands regional context, sarcasm, and symbolic speech will provide clearer and more meaningful communication.
To be sure, the varied reach of your game may not necessitate staffing a team with full-time speakers in many languages. Perhaps you have a small percentage of French speakers; no need to have a support agent sitting around full-time. Instead, look for a support provider who can offer services on an hour-by-hour basis, allowing you to budget your team strategically. An hourly or contract model allows for staffing a language at less than 40 hours per week.
Set your game apart with service that keeps your players engaged and enthused. Whether you find local native-tongue support agents or look to a more flexible remote solution, communicating with players in their own language is an investment in your product that will pay off handsomely.