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Looking to crack Japan? Don't stress over localisation, says Metaps

Looking for perfection highlights imperfection, says McCarthy
Looking to crack Japan? Don't stress over localisation, says Metaps
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"Everyone on this stage will tell you that you have to get localisation right [to make it in Japan]," said David McCarthy of Asian-focused monetisation and UA specialist Metaps on day two of Pocket Gamer Connects.

"I'm going to say I don't think you need to worry. The closer you get to perfection, the more your games imperfections will stand out. The fact is, Japanese gamers like foreign games."

McCarthy, of course, wasn't suggesting that localisation doesn't matter – the former games journalist citing the success King, which itself has modified its branding and marketing for the Asian market - but his message was western developers get far too hung up on localisation and miss other important elements when looking to launch a game in Japan.

Important elements like boost campaigns.

"In Japan, in terms of user acquisition, the only way to reach a high volume of high quality users is to do a boost campaign," he continued.

"These are kind of out of fashion in the west, but if you do good live events and time it around that, you can get a good boost."

The next big thing

Looking beyond Japan to Korea, McCarthy suggested that Korean gamers quickly "move on to the next big thing" if you don't keep your game fresh, updated, and glitch free. Korea gamers, he suggested, have little time for technical difficulties.

"You need to be prepared for gamers to leave, and you need to be prepared to try and find new gamers as a result," he continued.

Should western developers automatically launch Korean social platform KakaoTalk? It's not an easy decision, he suggested.

Kakao is a major platform in the Korean market
Kakao is a major platform in the Korean market

"Kakao does dominate the charts, but there's no simple formula to work out whether to use it or not. It does have a huge number of users and you'll get a boost, but there are so many new games out there that boost will only last a short amount of time."

McCarthy also recommended that developers "make their games high end" if planning to launch in the Korean market.

"Even simple board games on mobile are high end, very graphically rich, and you can't afford to have any technical difficulties or any lag," he concluded.

"Also, find a great partner. To whatever extent you release your games in Japan or Korea, you're going to need a partner to make sure you're doing things right."