The State of Arabic Localization in the Video Game Industry

26 March 2024

The State of Arabic Localization in the Video Game Industry


In recent years, the Arab world has surfaced as a promising market in the gaming industry— with nearly 500 million people across 22 different countries, there’s a lot of room for video game developers and publishers to make a big splash.


Given that Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the entire world, it should come as a no-brainer that there’s also a huge opportunity for video game localization professionals here. As Arabic-speaking gamers demand more culturally relevant and linguistically accurate gaming experiences, the language industry will play a critical role in helping game developers tap into this emergent market.


Saudi Arabia stands out particularly as a key player in the Middle East’s gaming market, with significant investments from both public and private sectors driving industry expansion. The country boasts a large population of gamers — research shows that 92% of the country’s online population consider themselves “gaming enthusiasts.” And those gaming enthusiasts are willing to spend a lot — the country has a fairly high average revenue per paying user.


Game localization is key to improving the user experience and ensuring a game’s success in any given market. Although some gamers might be willing to play in a language other than their native tongue, localization optimizes their experience and makes them feel as if the game was developed with them in mind. A prime example of this is Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Mirage, whose Arabic localization stands out as one of the few major game titles to be fully voiced and written in Arabic.


The localization team on Assasin’s Creed Mirage went the extra mile to incorporate classical Arabic, the language prominent during the golden age of Baghdad, into the game to capture both linguistic authenticity and cultural relevance. This endeavor highlights the importance of collaboration between game developers, cultural consultants, and language experts to create a seamless gaming experience for Arabic-speaking audiences.


And that’s just one example — as demand for games in the Arab world continues to increase, localizers will have plenty of opportunities to innovate in their game localization processes. The rise of gaming events and conventions in the Middle East like the recent Arab Game Awards reflects the region's vibrant gaming culture and the increasing demand for localized content.


As developers continue to explore new narratives and settings tailored to Arabic-speaking audiences, localization providers play a crucial role in bridging cultural gaps and delivering immersive gaming experiences. By understanding the unique preferences and sensibilities of Arabic-speaking gamers, developers can unlock the full potential of this dynamic and rapidly expanding market.