Localizing Chinese games for Southeast Asian markets A multidimensional perspective

Zhiwei Wu, Zhuojia Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

This article explores how Chinese games are localized for Southeast Asia (SEA) markets. Based on the synthesized insights from practitioners and gamers, we identify gaps between localization in theory and in practice. The post-gold model is popular with Chinese game companies that usually do not consider localizing a game until it has attained domestic success. They tend to opt for full localization rather than “deep localization” (Bernal-Merino 2011) because adapting visuals and game mechanics is considered “icing on the cake”. Additionally, in our data, gamers seem to prefer foreignization over domestication, while practitioners combine both strategies to create a defamiliarizing gaming experience. Finally, the language diversity in SEA and the lingua franca status of English call for a nuanced understanding of locale. Hence, we suggest to differentiate three types of locales (presumed, practiced, and preferred) as a possible analytical framework to further theorize game localization from multiple perspectives of stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-68
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Internationalization and Localization
Volume7
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • Chinese games
  • Game localization
  • Gamers
  • Southeast Asia
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Software

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