South Korea is a hub for the global gaming industry, boasting the fourth largest games market worldwide. Currently, there are approximately 30 million active gamers in the country, which is about 60% of the total population. Importantly, a large number of these gamers engage with international titles, offering significant opportunities for foreign game companies. However, it is crucial to understand the importance of game localization for market penetration and maximization of sales potential.
UX Research in Korea: Localization Importance
Localization is not merely the translation of a game's language but involves adapting all its cultural aspects to make it more appealing to the local market. This includes modifying graphics, adjusting game-play elements, and rewriting in-game dialogues to fit the cultural context, among others. For Korean gamers, well-localized games signify respect and understanding of their culture, resulting in enhanced user satisfaction and loyalty.
UX Research in Korea: Impact of Localization on Sales:
Our research indicates that the performance of localized games significantly outperforms non-localized ones. Localized games are 3 times more likely to be downloaded and receive about 2.5 times more in revenues than games that are not localized. Korean gamers are particularly attracted to games with localized content, showing 85% higher user retention for such games.
For instance, Blizzard Entertainment's "Overwatch," released in 2016, was immensely successful in Korea, partly because it was well localized to the Korean market. It featured fully dubbed Korean audio, along with extensive localization of in-game text and culture-specific details. Consequently, it was a top performer in the Korean internet cafes for several months after release.
Recommendations for Game Companies:
In summary, our consumer insights strongly suggest that game localization is not a mere option but a necessity for game companies seeking to penetrate the South Korean market. It is recommended to invest in detailed cultural research and hire professional localization services to ensure the best user experience for Korean gamers. Additionally, continuously listening to user feedback and adjusting localization efforts in response to it is also a key success factor.