If you want your iOS game to perform well, you must have a convincing App Store description that shows off your game in its best possible light.

Also, you need to make sure that all your viewers understand it. The best way to achieve this is to use a professional game localization company to translate your game’s app store description. The report "Can’t Read, Won’t Buy" found that over 60% of consumers in France and Japan would only buy from websites in their native language.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how the most successful iOS games deal with localizing their App Store description.

For a selection of popular high growth markets, we’ll take a look at how many of the games on the iTunes App Store Top 100 games list have their App Store descriptions in the local language.

A high rate of app descriptions in the local language for a specific country can mean a few things:

  • A large market making it attractive for the developer

  • Medium to low English skills amongst the population

  • A large number of popular locally developed games

Just like the shopping high streets in Tokyo and Madrid, you will spot many of the same popular global brand stores; looking at the Top list across various countries you will notice the same games over and over - there’ll be your Supercell and your King.com games etc. With that in mind, it seems that the first two points have the strongest influence.

Apple has unique App Stores for most countries, and we’ll use their RSS Feed Generator to grab the Top 100 lists for iOS games.

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Once we have the RSS Feeds we use the handy Google’s Compact Language Detector to check through all the app descriptions and note if the app description was in the native language of that country.

Top Free Applications

This is the top list for the most downloaded apps that doesn’t cost anything to install. However, most of them offer in-app-purchases. image alt text

Not surprisingly we’re finding a high level of localized app descriptions for Japan, China and Korea. All three are large game markets with a strong preference for their native languages and English proficiency is moderate to low.

The actual game titles were also in the native language to a much higher degree compared to the rest of the countries, where using an English name seemed to be the norm.

Top Paid Applications

Here’s the top list for downloads of games that cost money to install.

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China is in a clear lead with 94 of the 100 games having Chinese descriptions. Developers of paid apps are less likely to localize their app description compared to their freemium counterparts. There’s a huge difference between the two lists for Korea in particular.

"Koreans hesitate to pay for games that they haven’t played. They tend to choose a free game, demo or trial first to see if they like the game. If they do like it, they are happy to pay for a full version or in-app purchases"
- Seyoon Oh, Korean game translator

This Korean mentality is reflected by the low number in Top Paid category but still high in the Top Grossing and Top Free categories.

Top Grossing Applications

Games on this list make the most money and as the games genre makes more money than any other genre, it really is the Billionaires Club. If you dream of a private island - this is where you want your game to be.

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The Top Grossing list has the highest average number of apps localized - with an average across all languages of 92 % descriptions translated in native languages. This is compared to 86 % for Top Free and a considerably lower 71 % for the Top Paid list. In China, all the titles on the Top 100 list had Chinese descriptions.

Portugal had a pretty average number for Top Free category but the lowest for Top Paid and Top Grossing.

"Today, with the economic crisis, things are quite difficult here in Portugal. Unemployment, layoffs, budget cuts, pension cuts… and ultimately, much less purchasing power from the end client. Being a paid app can be a reason to throw off a lot of Portuguese end clients."
- Ricardo Pereira, Portuguese game translator

Conclusion

To follow suit and follow the example of the most successful game developers you should do the following:

If you make a freemium game, then you should localize your game’s App Store description into (in order of priority):

  1. Japanese
  2. Chinese
  3. Korean
  4. Spanish
  5. Russian
  6. French
  7. Brazilian Portuguese
  8. Portuguese
  9. Latin American Spanish
  10. German
  11. Italian

For premium paid games, you should go for:

  1. Chinese
  2. Japanese
  3. French
  4. German
  5. Spanish
  6. Latin American Spanish
  7. Russian
  8. Korean
  9. Italian
  10. Brazilian Portuguese
  11. Portuguese

Services like StoreFront allow you to easily localize your game description and deal with updates to the "What's New" section every time you push a new version out.

If you are interested in localization, do check out our growing number of blog articles on app and game localization and follow us on twitter.