Pokémon Go has launched in Hindi in the Indian market, including the renaming of 800 of the game's iconic beasts.
Hindi is one of the most widely spoken languages in India, the country being one of the most multilingual with hundreds of languages and thousands of regional dialects. However, the effort to localise both the popular AR title, and the names of many Pokémon is indicative of the level of desire to bring the franchise to this growing and thriving market.
The Pokémon franchise has monsters numbering in the thousands across the series many games, and many of these originally had names that were strange puns on their physicality or traits in Japanese. Although English-speaking players have benefited from localised versions of their quirky names, it’s only now that one of the world’s most populous and multilingual countries is benefitting from the same attention.
“We believe the localisation into Hindi marks the starting point of a long journey to come. We aim to firmly establish ourselves in India with our long-term vision and hope to further enrich the Pokémon world hand-in-hand with the Pokemon fan community,” said COO of The Pokémon Company, Takato Utsunomiya, in a statement to Indian press.
Is India a get out of jail free card for Niantic?
Niantic has faced increased scrutiny of the success of Pokémon Go after an erroneous estimation of the game’s purportedly decreasing revenue prompted press attention earlier this year. Although Niantic categorically denied that Go was in dire straits, there’s ample evidence that their other titles have failed to capture attention in the AR market in the same way as Go. NBA All-World, a basketball themed AR game will unceremoniously hang up its Jersey in late September, for example.
However, Monster Hunter Now, a new release in the Monster Hunter franchise by Niantic has seen early success with more than three-million pre-registrations before launch. Meanwhile the push to localise Pokémon Go will offer access into a massive market that - although it has proven somewhat difficult to monetise - should now find one of the world's most popular mobile games even more engaging.