Sim-ship and its Game-changing Impact on Video Game Localization


Video games have come a long way since their early days in arcades and are now multifaceted experiences that are constantly pushing toward new frontiers. One such frontier is simultaneous shipping (sim-ship), a term that sounds like it was borrowed from a sci-fi adventure. Sim-ship is more than just an industry buzzword; it is a process that allows developers to release games worldwide in different languages at the same time. In this article, we explore how this model has revolutionized the video game industry and the localization workflow in the last two decades. 

The Sim-ship Odyssey 

Sim-ship is the practice of releasing all localized versions of a software or digital content product alongside the original development version. In video games, this means localized versions are launched at the same time as the original game, so players have a multiverse of content options. These options are important because study after study has shown that games with subtitles, voice-overs, and dubbing that are tailored to the player’s language are more immersive and engaging.  

In the past, the sim-ship model was encumbered by technological hurdles, slow translation pipelines and complex development models. But as technology evolved, the stars aligned in favor of this process, and its adoption has transformed project timelines and workflows for developers and localizers. Today, even software updates and patches can traverse continents in mere hours. That’s the power of sim-ship. 

The Pros and Cons of Navigating Globalization Opportunities 

In a universe where global appeal matters more than ever, developers must decide whether to adopt sim-ship or not, and that decision isn’t always easy. Simultaneous shipment presents its own set of challenges, such as longer timelines and higher costs prior to launch. However, while sim-ship may push back product release times in the domestic market, it significantly shortens the waiting period for localized versions, which speakers of other languages are eager to play. So then, is the quest for broader accessibility worth the initial delay?

Developers who choose this model often find themselves reaping the rewards. Prominent global developers have embraced sim-ship for several reasons, including: 

  • Early issue detection in development 
  • Successful market penetration 
  • Faster revenue growth 
  • Heightened customer satisfaction 
  • Reduced piracy rates 
  • Advancements in internationalization software 

Localization Allies 

In the journey towards effective sim-ship, video game localization service providers (LSPs), like Terra, are trusty co-navigators. They play a pivotal role in sim-ship by offering agile linguistic services that ensure all versions of the game are ready for simultaneous launch on the different gaming platforms. They can also help boost the game’s reach by localizing supporting materials like video game store descriptions, websites, teasers, announcements, player support content, etc. 

Their expertise in translating and adapting content across multiple languages, combined with centralized project management, streamlines the process and enables developers to achieve a unified global release. This collaborative effort ensures that players worldwide can explore the game in their native language and enjoy a seamless, elevated, and inclusive gaming experience. 

Shoot for the Stars with Sim-Ship 

The impact of sim-ship and strategic video game localization is cosmic because it allows players to enjoy instant access to newly released games without language barriers. Although it requires an upfront investment and a bit more time, sim-ship opens doors to a more extensive player base thanks to accessibility features like subtitles, voice-overs, and dubbing.  Well-established global firms acknowledge that the rewards of sim-ship far exceed the initial sacrifices. Emerging companies expanding across the gaming galaxy should consider sim-ship’s potential too. Developers, start your engines, ignite your potential, and propel your games into the stratosphere by embarking on an extraordinary journey that will take you flying across language barriers. 

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