GTE Localize

Korean Game Localization 101: All You Need To Know

Posted by Chloe G. on January 20, 2022.

Should you think about localizing your game for the Korean market?

After the United States, China, and Japan, South Korea is the world’s fourth-largest gaming market. Korean is one of the top three Asian languages for game localization and one of the top ten languages worldwide. Thus, South Korea provides game companies with many opportunities. 

There are a lot of questions when it comes to the Korean game market. But one thing is certain: if you want to win the Asian market, you should include South Korea on your list.

In this post, we’ll take a quick look at the Korean game market and go over some Korean game localization tips. Understanding them can help you reduce potential risks and boost the possibilities of your game being the next big hit.


Korean game revenues and spending

korean game localizationInterestingly, Korean gamers are among the world’s most significant spenders. In 2018, 85 percent of gamers made in-app purchases, with the average Korean player spending around $200 per year.

In terms of revenue, game revenues in South Korea hit $6.2 billion in 2019. Compared to revenues in Germany, France, or the United Kingdom, which were all less than $4 billion, the Korean statistics are outstanding.

Mobile games were the key source of total app revenue, accounting for 80% of all revenue. Compared to other Asian markets such as China and Japan, Korea had the most significant share.

According to Sensor Tower data, in the first quarter of 2020, Korean users downloaded more mobile games and paid 15% more on them – approximately $1.1 billion.


The Korean mobile market is growing at a high speed

korean game localization

Korean customers are quick to adopt new technologies. With 94 percent of Koreans owning a smartphone, the country ranks first in the world in terms of smartphone penetration and internet usage. Sixty-six percent of smartphone users use their phone over a PC or tablet.

South Korea is moving toward 5G, and consumers are adopting 5G devices and services. 5G is expected to overtake 4G in the next several years.


Which game genres do South Koreans prefer?

Koreans prefer mobile gaming to PC and console gaming to play anywhere. This has an impact on the genres of Korean games as well.

The following are the key findings of the Korean market research:

  • Koreans frequently regard games as a kind of social interaction.
  • Competitive games are popular among Korean players.
  • When they play, they prefer to be a part of a group.

The games that allow players to work together, play with a team, or invite others to play together are the ones that win. The games with the highest return on investment allow gamers to communicate with others through in-app purchases.


Before starting your Korean game localization, consider a few things:

korean game localization

Korean is one of the top three languages for game translations because of its large gaming market. Korean gamers are typically loyal to games with excellent Korean localization. As a result, if you want to dominate this market, you must pay close attention to this procedure.


#1 Consider the User Interface of the Korean game

korean game localization

The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul in South Korea, comprises 24 consonants and vowel letters arranged in blocks. Every block has two to six letters, at least one vowel, and one consonant. 

The text is usually written left to right, although it can also be written top to bottom. Vertical writing is old-fashioned, but you should explore this option if the game features historical texts.

#2 Notice the word order

Because the arrangement of words in Korean differs significantly from English, Korean gamers may find it challenging to comprehend the meaning of poorly-translated English content due to their limited knowledge of the language.

#3 Localize images

korean game localization

Localization of images in the game is also required. Koreans enjoy playing games in their language. As a result, whether it’s a video game or a mobile game, the pictures and other design components and the game’s text and user interface must all be localized.

#4 Before you publish, run an LQA test

Even though a necessary LQA test procedure can help gaming companies enhance their games, many gaming companies appear to neglect this phase. And the results aren’t exactly great.

#5 Understand formal expression

The formality of the Korean language varies based on the situation and the characters’ relationships. Whether you like it or not, Asian culture has affected Korean society. It is critical to consider and localize this issue when translating Korean.

#6 Mind KakaoTalk

You must incorporate a social component in your game to flourish in Korea. KakaoTalk is a crucial element because it is used by practically every smartphone sold in Korea. Korean players share their scores and invite their friends to play using KakaoTalk, which is why so many apps are sold through this channel.

Kakao Games is the second-largest mobile game distribution channel behind Google Play, with over 50 million players. So, if you want to increase your game downloads, Kakao is the way to go.


Final words

The Korean market is quite demanding. Therefore it may take some time and resources to localize your game in a way that meets the expectations of Korean gamers. You’ll also want to make sure you don’t overlook any crucial Korean language and communication areas.

Candy Crush, Minecraft, Terraria, and Crash of Clans have all succeeded exceptionally well in Korea. 

The secret to dominating this Asian market is social networking and flawless Korean game localization.

You can’t rely on community-based translation alone to meet the high standards that Korean players demand. Expert localization is your best option. This guarantees that everything is completed on time and that no solid Korean language and communication areas are overlooked.

GTE Localize is a professional game translation and localization company specializing in Asian languages. With thousands of native translators, we will bring accurate and cost-saving Korean game localization for your company.

korean game localization

Download our 38-page white paper for SMEs on designing an efficient and productive localization program here.

Do you need a Korean game localization? Get in touch with us today!