An analysis conducted by One Hour Translation, the world’s largest online translation agency, has revealed marketing trends in the video games industry, based on an analysis of video games translation projects in the last few years.
According to the examination, video game companies translated mainly MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online), and MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game) type of games. The research covered 9,550 translation projects of approximately 2,000 video games.
Furthermore, One Hour Translation’s research found that the proportion of translation projects in the MOBA, MMO, and MMORPG category in 2017 has skyrocketed to 54% of all video game translations from English as compared to just 22% in 2016. These are followed in the translation rankings by Strategy video games with a 27% share in 2017, 7 percentage points drop from the 34% recorded at the end of 2016.
Translations from English of video games in the Classics category accounted for 11% of the total, a drop of 16 percentage points from 27% in 2016. Lagging far behind are translations from English of video games in the FPS (First Person Shooter) and RPG (Role-Playing Game) categories which accounted for 3% of the translation projects each in 2017, and games in the Sports category which accounted for a meager 1.5% share of the total number of projects.
The dominance of the MOBA and MMO game categories in the marketing and localization efforts of English-speaking video game developers is in line with the trends found by market research studies in the digital gaming field. For instance, Juniper Research’s April 2017 study predicted that by the end of 2017, the volume of MOBA games such as League of Legends and DoTA, and MMO games such as World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 is expected to reach $100 billion which accounts for 25% of the entire digital gaming market, According to the study’s forecast, by 2021, MOBA and MMO games will reach a global market volume of $43 billion which will constitute a third of the global digital games market.
From a geographical perspective, One Hour Translation’s findings show that most of the marketing efforts of English-speaking video game developers across all game categories are aimed at the European market. The four most popular target languages in 2017 were German (10.6%), French (9.9%), Italian (8.6%), and Spanish (8.1%). The fifth-to-tenth positions for 2017 were taken by Brazilian Portuguese (6.5%), Japanese (6.2%), Russian (5.6%), Turkish (5.2%), Korean (4.9%), and Swedish (4.5%), respectively.
The target language analysis of video game translations in the dominant MOBA, MMO, and MMORPG categories showed a similar distribution. The five leading target languages in this genre for 2017 are German and French, with a roughly 10.5% share each, followed by Spanish (9.8%), Russian (7.5%), and Italian (5.6%).
The prominence of German as a target language in One Hour Translation’s findings matches the data provided by BIU (Bundesverband Interaktiv Unterhaltungsoftware), an organization representing the gaming industry in Germany. According to them, digital game sales in Germany in 2016 amounted to €2.13 billion ($2.54 billion), a 7% rise from the sales in 2015.