With 21 Spanish-speaking countries in the world — most of them located in Central and South America — should companies consider localizing their games to Latin American Spanish? The short answer is yes. Here are seven reasons why.
1. There is enough of a difference between the dialects
European Spanish (español) and Latin American Spanish (castellano) have enough of a distinctiveness to warrant this conversation. Vocabulary and pronunciation set the languages a part, not to mention cultural references and region specific slang. Of course, the Spanish language differs even between Latin American countries, but having a game that’s as close to their native vocabulary and tone could be a key to winning over players.
2. It’s not uncommon to localize two versions
For the first time in the long running series, Final Fantasy XV will be localized for Latin American Spanish. Esports giant League of Legends is also available in two Spanish versions — one for Spain and one for Latin America — in order to not only reach a wider audience, but also connect with said audience on a deeper level. Funnily enough, the creators of Trivia Crack said they made “10 times more money” when their app hit No.1 in LatAm then they did when it was No.1 in Spain, so localizing two versions might be worth it in the end.
3. LatAm is an ever growing game market
As mentioned above, localizing two versions might not be a bad idea, considering that the LatAm game market is becoming more lucrative than even Southeastern Asia. LatAm has been a growing video game market for a few years, with Brazil alone being the fifth largest game market in the world. The 26 collective nations that make up the Latin American digital gaming market netted an estimated $4 billion in 2015, driven mostly by tablet and mobile games (which makes up $2.2 billion), as well social games and free-to-play MMOs. PC and console gaming aren’t very big here, for a variety of reasons, but it really comes down to accessibility.
4. The gaming tastes are as diverse as the U.S.
Some of the most popular mobile games include Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Lara Croft: Relic Run, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas — but while Brazilians might favor action games, other regions might lean toward racing, puzzle, or other. LatAm is very large and very heterogeneous, so a game that hasn’t done well in the U.S. or Europe still has a chance to take off there.
5. Android is huge
Unlike the U.S. where the iPhone is the most owned phone, Android phones are the dominant force in Latin America. A study of six countries in the region determined that 78 percent of smartphone users had phones that ran on Google’s OS system — with 82 percent of Brazilians surveyed owning Android devices. Along with smartphones, Android powered tablet ownership is also on the rise in LatAm. And since Android is also the preferred device in Asia, you could use LatAm as a launching ground for your Android only or Android-build included game before heading to the East.
6. Tester and VO talent is readily available
While all of our linguists are located in-territory in Latin America, we do a lot of our testing and VO work in Los Angeles. California is home to more immigrants than any other state, with 53 percent of them hailing from Latin America — which means our pool of testers and voice over talent is pretty vast. So not only will your translation and localization be done by native speakers, it can be tested by native speakers too!
7. The U.S. is considered a Spanish-speaking country
The United States has no official language, which is why it makes the list of Spanish-speaking nations. With 41 million native Spanish speakers and an additional 11 million bilingual residents, there are more Spanish speakers in the U.S. than in Spain. And again, most of them come from countries in Latin America. So while audiences south of the border could benefit from your game being localized to LatAm Spanish, native speakers living in America might also use that version of the game.
What are your reasons for considering localizing to Latin America? Let us know in the comments.
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