On Feb. 22 we announced the exciting news that Amazon Games will bring NCSOFT’s eagerly anticipated upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game Throne and Liberty to North America, South America, Europe, and Japan.
There’s much that goes into the publishing side of games that may not be so obvious at first glance. We’re proud of the success we saw after publishing Lost Ark and we also learned a lot throughout that process, so we wanted to share more insight about some of the key areas in which we contribute to these publishing partnerships.
Translation and localization
It’s well established that translation is a massive undertaking when launching a game globally. Perhaps less obvious is the additional work involved in localizing the content as well. It’s more than simply translating every word of a game’s text (which totaled more than 3 million English words in the case of Lost Ark) into each of the supported languages. A lot of context can be lost in translation, or the source copy may include regional references that are taken for granted in some countries but not understood in others. So our team works diligently to contextualize this content for each of the regions in which we publish a game while doing our best to maintain the original spirit and vision of the developer. We’re also responsible for sourcing regional voice-acting talent to record localized dialog and then working with the developer to rework cutscenes, lip synching and character models as required on a regional basis.
This entire process also creates new, cascading challenges along the way, such as text no longer fitting into pre-built dialog boxes, menus and other UI elements. We work closely with the developer to identify these issues and come up with solutions. As you can imagine, it can turn into quite a complex puzzle to solve for each territory in which the game is released.
Collaborating on unique and regionally relevant content
Games are certainly not a “one size fits all” proposition, and this is especially true when it comes to cultural preferences and sensitivities around their content. We offer our external developer partners counsel and work closely with them to ensure content is tailored in ways most likely to resonate with players in each region. For example, many of Lost Ark’s in-game events correspond to holidays or cultural moments in Korea, so we work with Smilegate RPG to contextualize the events for other regions and make them more relevant for those players. Similarly, the recent Arktoberfest event was driven by our team in Germany to celebrate its Oktoberfest festival, and the associated content was presented in a more relevant way for Korean players.
Determining regionally friendly monetization models
Some monetization models that are well established, accepted and even expected in some countries are received differently in others. We work directly with our developer partners to modify their approach so the games can be monetized in ways that players are more comfortable with on a regional basis. For us, once again, it’s a matter of doing our best to satisfy the needs and desires of our customers while maintaining the spirit of what the developers intended and ensuring that players feel like they’re getting the appropriate amount of value from their purchases.
Cloud infrastructure and expertise
When it comes to globally distributed online games, it’s critical to ensure that their cloud infrastructure is reliable and scalable while connecting players globally and unifying regionally tailored content. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the cloud trusted by game developers large and small around the world, and it was the cloud that saw Lost Ark scaled to 800,000 concurrent users in just 17 minutes and quickly became the second-highest played game in Steam’s history with 1.3 million concurrent players within its first 24 hours! Our internal Amazon Games publishing teams often work directly with external developer partners to configure and optimize their games for AWS. It’s safe to say that we at Amazon Games know AWS inside and out, and that means our partners can focus more time and attention on what they do best: making great games.
Marketing, communications and community
As games become bigger and engage with even more players on a global basis, it’s critical to create regionally distinct and intentional approaches to marketing, comms and community. Not only does this allow us to maximize discoverability and engagement for our partners’ games—leveraging broader Amazon capabilities such as Twitch, Prime Gaming, AWS and more—crucially it allows us to solicit local community and media feedback that we relay back to developers to inform future updates on a regional basis. This feedback loop and collaboration with the global community is an ongoing endeavor for live games like Lost Ark and New World and helps to broaden their appeal and reach for extended periods.
What’s on the horizon for Amazon Games publishing?
In addition to Throne and Liberty, we previously announced several other partnerships where Amazon Games will publish more incredible games in the future:
In December 2022, we unveiled our partnership with Crystal Dynamics to publish the next major entry in the iconic Tomb Raider series of games.
At The Game Awards in December 2022, we announced our partnership with Bandai Namco Online to bring Blue Protocol to North America, Europe, South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Blue Protocol is a multiplayer online action role-playing game featuring beautiful, anime-inspired art, launching later this year.
In September 2021, we announced our agreement to publish a new project from independent studio Glowmade (WonderWorlds) based on original IP.
Amazon Games has a lot going on, with two launched, live games and seven other upcoming titles, including internally developed games at our studios in San Diego and Montreal. We’re invested in ensuring each and every one puts its best foot forward, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with so many world-class studios, both internal and external, to deliver high-quality games to players all over the world.