Case study: How Narcade launches mobile games in Europe and Asia

Blog of Alconost Inc.
6 min readNov 20, 2019

In this article, we will share the experience of Narcade — an Istanbul-based mobile gaming company founded in Turkey in 2011. They have published such successful titles as Farm Bubbles, Ignis and Zipline Valley and brought them to the world. We will talk about the results they have had in localizing mobile games for Europe and Asia, and also about the gaming market in Turkey.

Starting out as a self-funded company, Narcade has been productive from the very beginning. At first, the team developed flash games, but as mobile games gained popularity, Narcade switched to the popular trend.

Narcade has localized many games: Farm Bubbles, Bubble Popland, Zipline Valley, Ignis, Bubble Friends, Gummy Dash and Starship Shooter. These games are available in both Google Play and the App Store.

Farm Bubbles localized into the two most widely spoken languages in the world — Spanish and Chinese
Farm Bubbles localized into the two most widely spoken languages in the world — Spanish and Chinese

The Narcade team used to get lots of requests from users who wanted to see localized versions. They chose the 10 most common languages for localization: Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, German, Arabic, Russian and Italian, and turned to Alconost for localization services. After localization, there were no more complaints from users about the lack of translated versions.

Farm Bubbles localized into Japanese and Bubble Popland localized into Italian

Mobile gaming is a very attractive $70 billion market. Games account for 10% of the time spent on mobile devices, but also for 77% of total app revenue.

As with any mobile game, if you want to keep the retention rates, you need to keep your users engaged. So, the Narcade team constantly introduces new features, new levels and fun quests. They needed a way to translate the updates into 10+ languages quickly.

This is how Narcade handles quick and smooth translation for their updates:

“The process works as follows: the text is transferred from the project team to the localization team. The localization team makes the changes with help of Nitro — the online professional translation service by Alconost. Thanks to Nitro, we receive the translations within 24 hours.

Before Nitro, we translated our work through a platform using freelance translators. This process was, of course, longer and more difficult. Besides, we were not sure of the accuracy of the translations.”

Getting “What’s new” text translated into multiple languages simultaneously

Nitro has changed a lot recently, especially the dashboard. It has become really easy for copy-pasting. The new feature Glossary is also very useful to us. We always send game translations, so we had to write explanatory comments every time, but thanks to this feature, we don’t have to anymore.

Besides, Nitro has introduced the new feature of adding images — it is exactly what we needed! It was really difficult to explain in what context the texts would be used. Adding images solves this problem.

Narcade’s most successful localizations

Mobile game industry statistics show that in terms of revenue, the USA and China are the two biggest markets, followed by Japan and Korea. The strong presence of Apple products in the USA and Japan does play a role here: not only are these two high-revenue markets, but App Store users also spend twice as much as Google Play users.

We found out that the US and Japan are the most profitable countries for all our games. In terms of downloads, the most successful countries are Germany, France, Japan, China, Russia and Brazil. China and Taiwan are also the countries where we can get huge amounts of installs from.

Bubble Friends localized into Russian and German

The “must-translate-into” languages for all our games are English, German, French, Japanese, Chinese, Russian and Spanish — these are also the target countries for our campaigns.

How did your apps ratings change after adding new languages?

We started using Nitro in June 2017 and we translated Farm Bubbles’ gameplay texts, market texts and advertisement texts into Korean. We started UA campaigns for Korea after getting translations.

Here are the statistics showing how we increased organic installs of Farm Bubbles in Korea:

Statistics for the period April 1, 2017-August 28, 2017

We also translate the text of ad creatives in Nitro. For example, we translated the texts of a Zipline Valley video into Japanese. The result was incredible. The Japanese creative got a 70% CTR (click ratio), while the English one got a 30% CTR, and we were able to get much more installs thanks to the Japanese creative.

Here is the report of the creatives and previews:

The English and the Japanese versions

Narcade is a Turkish company and your games also have a Turkish version. Would you recommend that other gaming companies localize their games into Turkish?

Yes, why not? Did you know that in 2018 Turkish gamers spent $853 million on games, with $400 million spent on mobile games?

After all, Turkey is the most developed games market in MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and #18 in the world. Besides, 80% of the Turkish population don’t speak any language other than Turkish. So, if you localize your game into Turkish, you’ll be targeting a market 30 million gamers.

Turkish users prefer games that they can play for free, but if upgrading to a premium account is offered, they will often be willing to pay.

Is there much competition in the gaming market in your country?

There are lots of Indie developers in Turkey who are capable of developing really good quality games. Narcade is also in mentorship programs of the most successful university’s game development centers in Turkey. So, Narcade has the advantage of reaching and mentoring those developers directly. If they have the potential to start a successful company, we help them with any problems that they may encounter from the beginning.

With the development of the gaming industry in Turkey, lots of new mobile gaming companies have entered the market. It’s good to have start-ups that have the potential to grow in our country.

We thank the Narcade team for sharing their mobile game localization experience with Nitro!

Disclaimer: This article was contributed by Alconost.
Nitro is the professional online translation service by Alconost — a global provider of product localization services for applications, games, videos, and websites into 70+ languages.

We offer native-speaking translators, linguistic testing, a cloud platform with API, continuous localization, 24/7 project managers, and any format for string resources.

We also make advertising and educational videos and images, teasers, explainers, and trailers for Google Play and the App Store.

Want to localize a game? Book a call with us!

Author: Alconost contributor Margarita Shvetsova



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