Game Localization Summit At GDC 2010 To Focus On Localization Management

By Ishaan . February 18, 2010 . 8:33am


The Game Localization Summit at this year’s Game Developers Conference is set to highlight to publishers the importance of “quality localization to drive revenues and increase gamer mindshare.” While it may sound like the event focuses on the nuances of localization and narrative, that isn’t quite it.


The GLS is being sponsored by XLOC, a company that specializes in providing developers with middleware solutions for better integrating localization into the game development process. While you may never have heard of it, their middleware is used across a wide range of high-profile, mainstream western games, which are often required to be translated into several different languages during the development cycle itself, in order to allow for a shorter gap between release in several territories. Most recently, Capcom used it for Dark Void, which was shipped in 8 different languages simultaneously.


The summit, then, will accordingly focus on the more technical and managerial aspects of localization, such as planning, minimizing bugs and maximizing the return on investment. The Game Localization Summit will last for an entire day and will feature a variety of panels, lectures and post-mortems.


Perhaps some of our friends at localization publishers would be interested in attending?1


1. …provided it doesn’t lead to any delayed releases of course.

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  • LastFootnote


    It’s interesting that you used the term ‘middleware’ here. The product does indeed appear to include an orchestration layer of some sort that enforces policies during the localization process. This appears to be combined with a change-management solution and possibly some unspecified development tools. I’m trying to glean information from XLOC’s site, but it’s all very vague. I’m still not sure exactly what XLOC really is.

    What I am sure of is that it’s incredibly expensive. This is enterprise-level software for the big boys only. (You don’t buy the product for a fixed price. You call them and they give you a price quote, depending on your needs. That’s a giveaway right there.) The fastest return on investment this product would provide is predicated on automating processes and reducing publisher/developer overhead. In other words, reducing man-hours. In other words, cutting jobs. A small studio may be able to eliminate a few jobs, but that’s not going to be nearly sufficient to cover the costs of buying the licenses for this software, let alone purchasing knowledge transfer services from XLOC that you’ll need in order to come up to speed on the product. By ‘knowledge transfer services’, I mean bringing in one of XLOC’s consultants, at a rate of $200/hour or more.

    There’s a reason that all of publishers using XLOC today are big companies like EA, Activision, and Take Two. Don’t expect to see this suite of tools in the hands of small localization shops anytime soon.

    • You’re right…XLOC is completely focused on production and asset-management and synchronization. It probably isn’t cheap, and that would explain why so many of the games listed on the Wiki are all from larger, more mainstream publishers. It sounds rather like Autodesk, in that there’s no “fixed” price for their products.

      Consultancy and tech support are probably expensive, too. In my experience, most (if not all) game engines have [free] substantial online support in the form of forums and direct e-mail contact with tech support people, but I could certainly see XLOC providing and charging for direct consultancy, since they appear to be the biggest player in their line of work.

      Haha, I wasn’t expecting smaller localization publishers such as XSEED or Atlus or NISA to employ XLOC. For one thing, it’s biggest benefit by far appears to be management across several different localizations, and as we all know, just translating from Japanese to English and putting out a product with a smaller team can take a while. The post-mortems, however, might be interesting, and perhaps provide the publishers we usually deal with at SE with inspiration or ideas in some form. :)

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