Localisation is an essential but difficult element of creating and adapting games for the growing Turkish market.
According to a recent report from Turkish industry body GIT (Gaming in Türkiye), localisation remains important for Turkish players. This is in spite of Türkiye ranking #64 out of 111 countries in 2022 on the English language proficiency index, up from #73 in 2018. Although still regarded as low on the scale, it does show a growing amount of English fluency in the region, but not nearly enough that localisation can be discontinued.
As the report iterates, “The gaming sector is well aware of the significance of localisation for our country. Particularly large and mid-scale gaming companies are trying to reach out to Turkish players in many aspects from dubbing to translation and even in-game cultural items.”
They note that this localisation is not as simple as translation or adding Ottoman items into a game, but in understanding the audience’s interests more subjectively. As well as this, Turkish has a different language layout to many others, with verbs placed at the end of a sentence and the ever-present unique characters in the Turkish language (Öö, Çç, Şş, ı, İ, Çç, Üü, Ğğ etc.)
An ever-present challenge
Localisation and understanding not only the subjective values of an audience but also adapting a game and even language settings to fit them are important elements of game design. As noted by CEO of Sandsoft Games, David Fernandez Remesal, in an interview with pocketgamer.biz.
Remesal explained some of the issues faced by audiences in the MENA region, for example, “The process of releasing a game into MENA hasn’t always been a straightforward task in the past, however, leading many gamers to rely on cheap counterfeit copies enabled by a lack of protection of foreign intellectual property. And, while proper translation and consideration for religious and cultural differences are vital areas for developers to address when localising games for a MENA audience, representation of Middle Eastern cultures within prominent gaming content has typically been crass.”
This is a challenge faced by companies in virtually every foreign country, but it’s one that has been tackled in a variety of ways. For example in Brazil, Tencent helped create a huge buzz around the release of their MOBA Honor of Kings in the region by casting well-known voice actors from anime – incredibly popular in Brazil – and film as the characters of their game.
With Türkiye now boasting a massive gaming audience, including for mobile gaming, the challenge of localisation will be something those wanting to break into this growing market will want to tackle.