When looking at revenues, Japan is the 3rd largest games market in the world. Compared to US, devices are fewer but revenue higher. Prepare your app from the start to the Japanese game market. Then app and game localization will be smoother.

Why localize your game into Japanese?

Japan is the 3rd largest games market in the world when looking at revenues. 59% of the gamers spend spend money on games. The average amount spent on games is $312.97 per year, which makes the Japanese game spenders the highest spenders in the world.

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In Japan, revenue from Mobile Gaming grew with 25% between 2014 and 2015. Compared with US, devices and downloads in Japan are fewer, but the revenue is higher. One reason for this is that in Japan, both Google Play and iOS monetize strong. This shows what the mobile market in Japan can offer.

Games that do well in Japan

Role playing is by far the no 1 genre in Japan. Traditionally card games have dominated the game market. Casual and simulation games rank high.

Simulation gamers are high spenders; simulation games rank high in Top Grossing, but fairly low in Top Free. Japanese fans tend to get really into things they like, and find investing in their favorite games worthwhile.

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Portable devices

Portable devices are growing. The main reason is that consumers have a lot of time to kill when commuting, and take to opportunity to play their favorite game. Capcom’s Monster Hunter a great success in Japan, pushed the portable device market forward.

33% of Japanese gamers own an iPhone. iOS is the main platform choice for Japanese gamers. Puzzle was the largest Google Play genre.

How do you localize your game into Japanese?

It’s not possible to translate into Japanese. The text needs to be localized. Cultural requirements and norms must be considered, and developers need, from the start, to prepare the app for internationalization with local time, name format, date formats and flexible text segments. English source language tends to be pretty informal, which makes a direct translation for the Japanese market impossible - the text would be too rude then. Imperative form is too strong in Japanese and might give the wrong impression.

Symbols and colors are important connotations in Japan. Four (4) sounds like death and 4 items in a package is negative, and purple means danger. Perfection is key to make it at the Japanese market; if not perfect, then the product, app or game, isn’t trustworthy, nor the person trying to sell it.

Gender related localization issues

When localizing into Japanese, the text needs some extra preparations. Japanese requires strict rules on who is the speaker and who is the receiver is to translate properly.

Gender related localization issues will make a male character speak in a female tone and a woman with a male voice. In Japanese this make the game plain and not enjoyable to play.

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Having a place holder is a good tips. In Japanese the order is: Subject + Object + Verb, but that’s not applied in English. A sentence like I game play sounds odd in English, but that’s the order in Japanese. To make the translations better, put a placeholder in the source text:

Eric has destroyed Anna’s bases and gained {xxxxx}, because then the Japanese translator can translate the string properly and mark the placeholder at the right spot: Eric has destroyed Anna’s bases and {xxxxx} gained.

Should you localize into Japanese?

If your game or app is suitable for the Japanese market, then you don’t want to miss the 3rd largest market in the world. Use our platform to see what a translation into Japanese would cost.