China has a unique mobile ecosystem. It runs on its own set of rules. International developers will, therefore, need to play by those rules to increase the chance of exposure and success of their games. Ironically, you must play the game in order to publish your own game! Here are some localization tips to help you win the game. Each tip will begin with an explanation of the cultural barrier that affects international developers, followed by the solution for breaking down that barrier.
Written: Simplified Chinese
APPTUTTi requires all of their partners to submit titles and contents of their games in Simplified Chinese. To break down this barrier, they provide a professional translation service for all projects, free for your first 1,000 words.
Things to note when incorporating translated text into your game:
•Use a larger font as Chinese characters contain more strokes than English letters.
•You may have to realign your graphics as Chinese characters take up more height than English words.
Language is not just about words and sounds. An equally pervasive but overlooked aspect of language is a cultural one. Adapting your game to Chinese culture will enhance user experience as you will truly speak the same ‘language’ as that of your target audience. This will increase retention rates and word of mouth for your game.
Chinese culture is inherently linked to politics. Consumer content is tightly controlled by the local authorities - films, books, media and the internet, for example. Games are no exception - a recent freeze on new game approvals lasted nine-months, for example. Falling foul of these controls and treading on sensitive topics may adversely affect your current and future abilities to publish in China. Here are some examples to help you understand the severity of politics:
•No defamation. The Chinese publisher of Devotion had its license removed for referencing a meme that pitted the Chinese president against Winnie the Pooh.
•No blood, corpses, violence, religious content, drug use, obscenity, gambling, imperial history, breaching of national security, and tarnishing of reputation.
While politics is all about restrictive measures, conforming to popularity is all about the positive steps you can take to fit the existing values of the Chinese audience. This principle likewise applies when developing games for Western audiences - it is simpler to conform to recognized popular culture, trends and IP, rather than import new concepts. Popular genres in China include medieval fairy tales and folk tales - Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Mulan, for example. Note the historical significance when it comes to Chinese culture.
Offering a range of compatible login, payment and advertising options for Chinese users will again improve user experience.
Login: social media, QR codes
Payment: mobile payments such as Wechat Pay or AliPay
Advertising: video, interstitial and banner ads
In addition to APPTUTTi's translation service, they offer all partners access to their SuperSDK. This includes various AppID(s), Key(s) and/or PayCode(s) specific to their partnering stores to help you localize your game. Their accompanying services include source code study, SDK integration and implementation, APK testing and final publishing. Integration support is available as well to troubleshoot any technical issues.