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For example: Plants vs Zombies 2, Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, Candy Crush Saga, Temple Run 2 and so on. These games are available in English only. These companies have huge resources; why don't they localize their games?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Only those developers can answer that. Have you tried emailing them? \$\endgroup\$
    – Anko
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Even if you can't read, the games use visuals to communicate the intent. With that said, games like Bubble Witch Saga 2 are localized, so... who knows. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fault
    Jun 26, 2014 at 9:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this question have only one answer: It is not profitable. But why? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2014 at 10:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe – just maybe – the scenario of Angry Birds and Candy Crush is too complicated to translate to another language ? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2014 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do Angry Birds or Candy Crush rely a lot on text? I don't remember them having much exposition. Also: getting real translations can be expensive, and poor-quality ones are more likely to annoy people that just ignoring text they don't understand. \$\endgroup\$
    – TZHX
    Jun 26, 2014 at 12:10

3 Answers 3

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People might not translate because they think the follow things, that as noted is the comments may or may-not be true.

  1. Translation costs lots of money to pay to have done
  2. Take lots of support time if done via user supplied text
  3. Takes lots of developer resource to implement
  4. For free games that rely on Ad revenue, ad clicks are most likely near zero in non-English locations (based on my AdSense returns in non-English locals)
  5. For paid games, will less people not playing due to missing language, verse gained customers minus opportunity cost for working on next game
  6. You list games, and a large amount of the "text" might be in UI assets, not standard text, thus have a larger asset set to manage might be painful and make the large package larger
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    \$\begingroup\$ 4 -- not true, based on my AdSense experience. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2014 at 10:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user1561346 fair call. Based on my AdSense, I'd be less inclined to translate. Based on yours, maybe you would. Two people two data points. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 26, 2014 at 10:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SimeonPilgrim It might depend on type of application. Apps for "IT pro" are usually only hurt by translations (especially if it is crappy machine translation without option to turn it off). Other genres of apps, for example cooking book, works better in user native language (if translation is good one, of course). There might be also varying level of English language in various regions of world. \$\endgroup\$
    – PTwr
    Jun 26, 2014 at 13:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ As a developer for both Android and iOS (the only two major mobile platforms), localization takes extremely little developer resource to implement. It's a single file with a list of all the strings for each language. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doc
    Jun 26, 2014 at 13:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Doc: First, it's only "easy" if you plan for it from the beginning, and putting in place a robust system that supports x languages takes more resources to implement than just throwing English strings around. If you try to slap on translations later, it can be a huge pain for a lot of reasons. You not only have to display the correct language text, you also have to make sure it fits the screen elements for example. And that's not even talking about logos or other text that is actually an image. \$\endgroup\$
    – Christian
    Jun 26, 2014 at 14:54
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Perhaps it's because most people who have access to these technologies speak english nowadays, at least good enough to understand what's going on. I'd rather have a good game with more features rather than one translated in my native language. It wont really affect my decision on which game I'll choose.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That depends on your target demographic. When your game is aimed at school children, i18n is more important than when you target a young adult audience. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philipp
    Jun 26, 2014 at 11:42
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Another explanation would be that most mobile games have a quite intuitive gameplay and require less text to be read by the player so most players are able to enjoy the game even if they have moderate english skills.

In these cases, translating the game isn't really worth it for reasons already mentioned by Simeon Pilgrim.

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