Why localize your game into Russian?

A Russian Translation of your Game should be a part of your market plan. There are 260 million people speaking Russian worldwide, which makes it the 6th largest language. The App market is the 5th largest in the world. Think of Russia as a mixture of Europe and Asia. The key to entering the Russian game market is to localize your app or game. The Russian games market is predicted to grow by 5,2% annually. Revenues generated in 2015 will be 1,3 billion dollars. This means: Russia is an important market. To succeed in the Russian market you need to localize because localized games earn more than the English ones.
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Russian Gamer numbers have increased over the last few years. One reason is the larger number of platforms available, but more important is the greater availability of internet access. The smartphone penetration is around 55 % and set to grow to over 70 % in the next few years. In Russia, 20 % of smartphones are Samsung, and 10 % Apple. Android is the most popular operating system with 80 % of the market. iOS has 10 % of the market share. Looking at both downloads and revenue, Google Play is growing faster than App Store.

Games that do well in Russia

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Russian is the second largest language on Steam and it keeps growing. A Steam game should definitely be translated into Russian. Online PC games are more popular than console games. 17 % play video games on the smartphone. Within the PC segment MMO games, especially short battle sessions, are the most popular. Top MMO games in Russia are World of Tanks, Warface and Perfect world, to name a few. The market share of MMO games is 27 %. Compare this with console games with a 4 % market share. Other favorite genres are social and casual webgames. The Russian Smartphone user has 23 apps installed per average, of them 9 apps used last 30 days, and 4 paid apps installed on average.

The Necessity of Localization in Russia

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Russian in one of the most complex languages in the world to translate into. The translator needs to be very skilled with excellent knowledge of the Russian culture, language, and history, but also up to date with the current language since many words in modern businesses are English loanwords. Sometimes game localization is referred to as an art; the translator has to imagine the game to find the perfect translation. In Russia this is even more true. It is not possible with a word to word translation; the translator has to interpret the text, find a context and make a game translation that suits the Russian game market. Professional translators aren’t enough; it has to be professional game translators, skilled to capture the dialogue, slang, humor, and most importantly create the culture that fits the regional game market.

How do you localize your game into Russian?

It is not possible to translate from English to Russian word by word: what’s being localized to Russian is the meaning. Provide reference materials, so the entire context can be understood. That is a challenge. Actually challenge is a good example of why sometimes it is difficult to translate into Russian. Russia doesn’t have the history with competition between individuals like America, so the word challenge has different words in Russian depending on the circumstances. The same goes with fun. Americans have fun all the time: on a boat, at the club, or fun playing a video game. How fun is being translated in Russian depends on the situation, there isn’t a general "fun" translation.
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The Noun

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In Russian, the noun and the adjectives relating to it are gender and time sensitive. This means the endings change depending on the person, time and situation. To start there are six noun declensions. The Noun also has three different genders. And the noun changes its ending depending on when it happened or when it will happen, and to whom this certain thing will happen. A pretty neutral word like "Dear" is impossible to translate into Russian since the Russian translator needs to consider the gender.

The Characters

The modern Russian alphabet uses 33 letters from the Cyrillic script. And two of the letters do not have a sound. They just decide the sound of the letters before.
The amount of characters and words will normally expand compared with the English source. That is an important thing to consider. Provide the translator with character limits where needed.
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Conclusion

Is it worth the effort? Yes. The Russian game market is growing. Russian gamers want their favorite games to be translated into their language. Many gamers in Russia have online discussions where they point out games they wish to be translated. In upcoming countries like Russia with large game markets, a preference for the native language, and where the English proficiency is moderate, the Return of Investment translating a game is high. Give it a try. Start by just translating the description. When downloads increase - translate the in-game. Get a free translation quote clicking here.