We are All Equal in the Gaming World
An observation-based study of video game players’ perception of localisation
Localisation is a complicated process involving cultural, technical and linguistic alterations of a source product. Video games are not “translated” as literary works are, for instance, but localised – this process includes adapting them to a new locale so that they can be successfully sold, marketed and enjoyed there. When it is done inaccurately, localisation prevents players from playing a video game to the fullest, as it obstructs interaction. Furthermore, this issue often extends to communication between individual players engaged in online multiplayer. Given that localisation is highly overlooked in academics, this study aims to answer the following research question: how do video game players identify localisation in online multiplayer titles? Additionally, it also proposes a sub-research question: how do players motivate their preference for localised video games manufactured in countries other than their own? To answer these two questions, the project made use of participant observation combined with semi-structured interviews, during which selected small teams of gamers played chosen online multiplayer games (of different genres, e.g. multiplayer online battle arena and first-person shooter). The data gathered was subsequently subjected to thematic analysis. It was discovered that players have expectations of localisation strategies used in their played video games, regardless of making a distinction between “translation” and “localisation” procedures. Participants assessed them based on the general quality, faithfulness towards the original, and regularly mentioned an authentic “feeling” of the source being present or absent in the target product. Participants exposed to negative experiences with localisation preferred not to launch games in their native languages; others found reasons for doing so, such as being incapable of understanding the game entirely. Yet, the online gaming community was described to be internationalised and reliant on languages dominant in certain regions, such as English for Europe and North America. The all-embracing conclusion was that localisation provides gamers with options of playing in their preferred languages and thus it is a strategy of rendering them more accessible to everyone.
|Keywords||media, culture, society, Localisation, video games, online multiplayer, communication, gaming community|
|Thesis Advisor||J. Jansz, D.D. Dumitrica|
|Series||Media, Culture & Society|
M.L. Monko. (2017, October 9). We are All Equal in the Gaming World. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/39699