Strong Yakuza Sales Prompt Sega to Improve Localization for Simultaneous International Releases
Localization is a key strategy for Sega.
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Sega parent company Sega Sammy Holdings released a new shareholder report discussing the company's financial results for the quarter. One highlight is the growing sales for the Yakuza series which saw a similar number of units sold for Yakuza 6: The Song of Life abroad as it did in Japan. Something Sega credits to strong localization.
The Yakuza series has always been a bit of a niche product in North America, especially during the PS2 and PS3 era. While interest in the series existed, they never translated to blockbuster sales. In recent years starting with Yakuza 0 however, sales have picked up and games like Yakuza Kiwami, Yakuza Kiwami 2, and Yakuza 6 are getting released outside of Japan.
Sega says that the success of Yakuza is partly because of the strong localization from Atlus which Sega purchased back in 2013.
"The studio understands both Japanese and American games very well, and is able to localize Japanese games in a way that accurately conveys the unique worldviews of Japanese titles to local gamers," the shareholder report says. "The studio is able to maximize the entertainment value of localized games that reflect these unique worldviews, and this has led to very positive reviews from local gamers. During the product development stage, game content is shared with the localization team for translation before the department is finished, facilitating the rapid release of foreign language versions of the game."
Games like Yakuza and Persona 5, which sold twice as many units abroad as it did in Japan, are just some of the games that have seen success in non-Japanese markets thanks to localization and Sega says that it is working to double efforts to make simultaneous international releases possible. Hopefully moving past launches where games like Persona 5 come out months after their Japanese versions.
Check out our Yakuza Kiwami 2 review for more on the most recent Yakuza series title from Sega. The Yakuza team also announced a brand-new IP codenamed "Judge Eyes" though it's still pretty Yakuza-esque.