Spanish is the third language with the most players, only behind English and Chinese
The translation and dubbing of video games has experienced dizzying growth in recent years. Gone are those years in which even the great games reach Spanish-speaking homes in English, or even the Japanese, origin of most games in previous times.
Most of the most important video games value Spanish when it comes to localizing their big releases. And it is that, with a market of nearly 363 million users between Spain and LATAM, Spanish is the third most widespread mother tongue among gamers, only behind English and Chinese, according to data extracted from the LocalizeDirect study for the year 2021 in which it analyzes the localization of video games globally.
A growing market
The Spanish-speaking gamer community continues to grow. Taking for example LATAM countries, it is expected that by 2023 the number of 300 million video game users will be exceeded, the equivalent of almost the entire population of the United States and 75% of the European Union… If all people were gamers.
Spain stands out as the tenth global market in 2020, acording to Newzoo. But it is important to highlight the introduction of the video game sector in Spain, well above the means of the rest of the countries located in the top-10. And it is that only South Korea, with 62.96% by the way of gamers in the country, clearly exceeds Spain, in which, according to the study, 59.62% of the people play video games, tied with the country par excellence in the sector, Japan (59.76%) and ahead of the largest market, the United States (57.40%).
Despite these indisputable figures, which position Spanish as a necessary language for the global implementation of any video game, the language of Cervantes, spread throughout the globe, is the sixth language in terms of translations, in figures that value the localization to the different languages from English in original texts.
German, French, Japanese, Russian and Korean are still ahead of Spanish, which in this case refers, in the LocalizeDirect study, to the Spanish of Spain, that is, European, leaving out of the localization of the game more than 300 million of users. Although, advances in recent years have been relevant with respect to other languages such as Italian, which have traditionally been ahead of Spanish in this type of ranking. Pushed by the possibility of opening markets in Latin America.
Only 8.7% of video games are localized into Spanish according to the study. This leaves almost 90% of the productions without an adequate translation for the third largest video game market in the world, a handicap that, as you can imagine, will always affect the results, both in downloads and in financial results.
Location by areas
Spanish is extensive and varied. For this reason, the translation into European Spanish, that is, from Spain, although it will always facilitate the gameplay for gamers from Latin American countries, they will not show an adequate localization for the optimal experience in each of the games.
This lack of final effort on the part of most developers, who leave out so many millions of players, becomes incomprehensible at times. And it is that, although it requires specialized work, with native translators and testers who are charged with the suitability of each playable experience for users of each country or area of interest, the translation only into Spanish from Spain remains as a half work. An effort to reach nearly 28 million gamers who represent one of the clear powers of the industry, but who also represent the entry for more than 300 million more customers, who felt that the lack of a specific location they stay with the honey on their lips without being able to taste it.
As the title of this post says, can the video game sector afford to continue not localizing its games to the different cultures that Spanish offers? Are you going to leave out the third market within the sector and almost 400 million customers for lack of a final effort? From Chile to the United States, from Panama to Spain, gamers have it clear, in Spanish everything is experienced much better.