Game Translation On A Budget: 6 Languages To Reach 83.5% Of Steam Users


"Steam has reached a new online user record of 20 million, with 6.2 million currently in-game, likely because many people stay at home due to the coronavirus," SteamDB reported.

Help more gamers win the battle against boredom!

Localizing your game will increase your downloads and generate positive reviews from around the world; triggers that rank your game higher when potential players are searching for an awesome game to download. When they find your game, they are more likely to download it if they can understand the content.

Now, the next step: where to start? Which languages to choose? Here are a few tips.


Test your game for the global market and receive instant feedback. Start with localizing your game description, metadata, and keywords.


When the positive effect is demonstrated, translate the entire game text. Select the right markets and languages.

How to do it?

For Steam, look at the most popular non-English languages that the Steam gamers play in.

Source: Steam

We identified the following countries with the highest potential for Steam PC games: China, Russia, Spain, Germany, Brazil.

Note: We don’t take into account the English-speaking markets (the US, the UK, Australia) here as English is a standard in the video game industry. Translating a game into English is implied as essential.

Let’s dig deeper into the potential of each language

1. Chinese

Almost ⅕ of the Steam audience set Chinese as their primary language, with the vast majority preferring the Simplified version which is spoken in PRC. Hong Kong and Taiwan use their own dialects of Traditional Chinese.

To make it in the Asian market, translation is key. Potential customers hesitate to download when the game isn’t translated. The market is huge, the potential massive, and to access properly, localization is the first step.

The Chinese PC games market is the largest in the world by a wide margin. More than 300 million Chinese people play PC games.

Read more about the Chinese market

2. Russian

Russian is the third largest language on Steam (after Chinese and English). Over 13% of Steam customers speak Russian, and thus they prefer game downloads in Russian. PC games are more popular than console games: the Russian games market has been historically dominated by F2P PC games, although mobile games aren’t that far behind.

Steam (Valve) is one of the top gaming companies in Russia by turnover, number of transactions, and number of customers. A Russian translation, and a pricing model adjusted to the Russian market, is a rather safe investment.

Learn more about the Russian game market

3. Spanish

Almost 5% of Steam gamers use computers with European Spanish installed, and nearly 0.3% prefer Latin American Spanish.

The Spanish games market was in the top 10, globally generating over US$2 billion in game revenue. Out of the total Spanish Internet population, about half of the males and ⅓ of the females play PC and online games in Spain.

The Spanish language is spread throughout the globe, and a game translation into Spanish (a Latin American version) might even have an influence on the US market.

If you want to truly maximize on the Spanish speaking market, a localization into Spanish should include at least two versions: European Spanish and Mexican (LatAm) Spanish.

4. German

After English, Chinese, Russian and European Spanish, German is the 5th largest language on Steam. Germany has the highest game revenue in Europe.

Is the word “simulator” included in the title? Then Germany is your target market.

There is slow adoption of tablet gaming in Germany. Computer screens are more popular among Germans — 45% of men and 33% of women play on one although, no surprise, smartphones remain Germany’s most popular gaming platform.

More than 80% of PC games sold in Germany were purchased as downloads via the main portals like Steam, Origin, and Uplay.

More about localization specifications into German and other FIGS markets

5. Portuguese

Portuguese is native to about 4.4% of Steam gamers, with the vast majority coming from Brazil.

And yes, Brazilian Portuguese is different from Portuguese.

About ⅓ of Brazilian gamers named PC as their favorite means of gaming. The country generated around a third of total Latin American game revenue in 2019. Brazil and Mexico together account for 67% of total revenue in Latin America.

Learn about the Brazilian game market

Now, what about the most promising mobile games markets?

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Originally published at on February 18, 2020.



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