Microsoft still doesn't enforce supported languages on Xbox Store game pages, why?

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Almost a year ago, I wrote an editorial about how Microsoft needs to start to take localization seriously, with heavy emphasis on the Xbox side of things. My faith in Microsoft to fix basic feature problems in Windows is already at rock bottom, but I generally expect better of Xbox, since they tend to ship polished hardware that actually works. I guess this is what happens when you're faced with actual competition, namely from Steam, PlayStation, and other popular gaming storefronts.

One thing Steam, Nintendo, and PlayStation all have in common is this utterly, utterly basic accessibility feature enabled by default:

A list of supported languages on a game's store page.

Basic, simple, easy, right? Even the terribad Windows 10 Microsoft Store seems to enforce this feature. So, um, why doesn't the Xbox Store support this across the board? Why doesn't even the brand-new Xbox Microsoft Store designed for next-gen Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S support this across the board? Why doesn't the Project xCloud Xbox Game Pass app have this by default?

As we move deeper into Microsoft's so-called push to move beyond console gaming, why do Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and other language regions have to curate their own fan-made lists of games that support their languages?

Related: Hey, Microsoft, it's time to take Xbox localization seriously

Stop asking fans do to YOUR work

Xbox Language List

Source: Jez C (Image credit: Source: Jez C)

The year is 2020, and as far as we can tell, there has been literally no movement, and no plan to rectify this very basic oversight that, once again, shows how Microsoft thinks of itself as a US-first, rest-of-the-world second company.

Players should be able to reliably filter by language support, and browse by language support.

And for total clarity, some game developers do list supported languages, but it seems to be an extra segment as part of the "other features" that is buried in the interface, rather than a proper database entry. For example, Grounded has supported languages hidden away in the "More" section of its description pages. Assassin's Creed Valhalla lists nothing.

For Xbox, it's not a requirement for a game developer to set up a list of supported languages. When you combine that with the fact that the notes are buried in several menus in the Xbox Store, it makes for frustrating browsing. Why is this so convoluted?

Players should be able to filter by language support, and browse by language support, rather than struggle through several menus and user-curated spreadsheets to find these basic features.

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The Microsoft Store and Xbox Game Pass app for PC both list the supported languages each game has on their store pages. Which indicates to me that the information is there in the database for Microsoft to access, and for developers to set up. So then, why does Xbox not have it by default?

This goes beyond the simple anglo-centricity that Microsoft is long-known for, but it is also a basic accessibility feature for millions of gamers across the world. Microsoft has done a ton of great work to improve accessibility for gamers on Xbox Live, but unless you're English, you're still being given unnecessary hurdles to access a gaming experience that approaches that of English-speaking countries.

Microsoft is asking its non-English gamers to trawl through user-curated Google Docs spreadsheets to find what games support their language region. They're asking fans to do that heavy lifting to keep those lists up to date, too.

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This is ridiculous for a company as large and cash-rich as Microsoft, who also claims to have aspirations of reaching a global gaming audience with its cloud-based Xbox Game Pass service (which, by the way, also doesn't display supported languages by default.)

Remember non-English gamers, Microsoft

Source: Windows Central Global gaming? (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One central problem Xbox has long-held is the lack of support from strong gaming markets such as Japan. Developers in Japan and other regions overlook Xbox as a viable place to do business. And missing basic features like language support, something Sony has enforced for years.

If I was Microsoft, I would be embarrassed to attempt to court gamers from Japan, South Korea, the Middle East, and beyond, without even the most basic localization features in place across its storefronts. Microsoft has dumped mountains of cash into marketing deals with the likes of Samsung to push xCloud in South Korea. They put in a ton of effort to appear at the 2020 Tokyo Game Show for the first time in years. The fact Microsoft isn't enforcing the inclusion of languages on store pages is an oversight that needs to be plugged. All of this is without deep-diving into the geo-restrictions Microsoft and its developers seem to arbitrarily place on languages too, forgetting that it's not just the U.S. that has a prevalence of multiple languages.

Getting Microsoft to listen to feedback on issues that don't affect U.S. and UK customers seems to be an uphill struggle, and after a year, we're starting to wonder if they're actually serious about regions outside of that tried-and-tested anglo-centric markets.

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Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

124 Comments
  • Japanese Xbox fans have been plagued by this problem for a long long time.
    Unless we actually buy the game, we won't know if it supports Japanese subtitles.
    What if English-speaking people bought a DVD of director Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" without a supported language on pacage and the actual DVD did not have English subtitles?
    We Japanese fans are faced with such a problem every day.
    I want Microsoft to consider adding a supported language display to the store as a top priority.
  • Thanks for your comments, every comment like this is another voice Microsoft will hopefully see!
  • I've been living in Japan now for just about 9yrs, and this issue has certainly plagued much of the fanbase residing here. There are times where, if I decide to want to play a game in Japanese because I want to study, etc, I can't because there isn't a clear option to do so. The lack of supported languages means that I have to play in English most of the time, but I love having the option of Japanese as a tool to help learn the language better. As Hako1ba also mentioned, for my Japanese friends they face the issue of not being able to understand the language simply because it's not enforced, and it certainly creates frustration when trying to enjoy the game you've purchased. Hopefully, things are implemented, as more voices come forward and speak out.
  • It's just one of those things that Microsoft seemingly refuses to fix because it wants to make life harder for people. It's like the Windows Store, There is no real library management of content I've purchased.
    I have to go and scroll down a long list of content to find that app you purchased several years back but can't search for it anymore because it was delisted and updated with the latest version. Oh and, woe is me if I find scrolling of the list is so slow, it'd take over an hour to find anything in past the last 12 months. Like the Fans Xbox in another language, I too have had to keep my own list of apps and games that I've purchased (now regrettably), or that I've not got installed but will want to at a later date. Having used the switch for a while now, I'm starting to feel the pinch of that mentality on the xbox one console's interface as well. On the Nintendo side, my games are presented to me on the home screen, nothing more than I need to play them. On the xbox, I'm forced to go through multiple menu options to see the installed games, or manually pin them in a convoluted way that just doesn't really make sense from the point of view of a gamer who just wants to play games.
  • OK, I'm sure they don't want "to make life harder for people." Call it incompetence or lack of proper prioritization or ignorance, but I'm certain it's not malice.
  • I've seen articles on Windows Central pointing out localization issues on Xbox before. However, nothing has improved since then. The Microsoft Store on Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store on Xbox need to show the supported languages for your game. The source code is complex, so I think that if there is a problem, the Store itself should be replaced. And not only Xbox problems but also Cortana is not supported in Korea. It's been five years since the Microsoft voice assistant Cortana was released, but Korean language is still not supported. Overall, Microsoft lacks a lot of localization in the Asian market. In the Asian market in particular, Microsoft only cares about China and Japan, not South Korea. This is because the country is small and the population of the languages spoken is small. In South Korea, Microsoft has partnered with SKTelecom, a major Korean telecommunications company. It is said that Xbox All Access is also launching for the first time in Asia. The response of the Koreans was very good, and the response to the appropriate pricing was good. This is because the price was not too expensive, including taxes and exchange rates, and was really reasonable. As with the news of the acquisition of Bethesda, the response to Xbox in Korea is good. However, if there is no game localization problem or language support notation in a market such as Korea, the outlook is dark. The Microsoft company seems to have a very strong idea that World=USA is unique among American companies. The world doesn't just exist in America. There are various markets such as Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, South America, etc. If you don't care about those markets, you'll have no choice but to be behind the PS5 in the next-generation fight. I used Google Translator, so please understand.
  • In addition, I would like to point out not only the problem related to Xbox but also the problem that Microsft only supports English. The Outlook app for mobile also has the Play My Emails feature, but only English (US) is available, and it is said that only Canada, UK, Australia, and India will be expanded in the future. Not just Xbox, but all Microsoft services need to support multiple countries and languages. Competitors Google and Apple support a wide variety of countries and languages. On the gaming side, Sony and Nintendo also support various countries and languages.
  • I often hesitate to buy an Xbox game because there is no language information in the Xbox game. To determine which games are localized in Korean, you will need to search the Steam, Epic Store, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation sites. Xbox is already missing a number of Korean customers in this regard.
  • Please, I hope we can improve the language support information on the Xbox Store. At least make sure you can see the language information right away by just scrolling down. It's cumbersome to scroll down the game information on the Xbox Store each time and click'Details' in the'Language Information' column to check it. For reference, I live in Korea.
  • This is what Korean users have always wanted for years.
    Please display the language support information in the Xbox console game.
    Many Koreans consider Korean language support as purchasing standard.
    Many people don't even think about buying it if the game doesn't display Korean language support.
  • It is huge wall to join xbox.
  • MS staff, think about it in a different way.
    Suppose you, as an Asian, are not native English speakers, and you don't know if the game you want to enjoy supports your native language.
    You have to visit the MS Store to buy the game or get help from someone else who has already purchased it.
    Is this the right way?
    Apart from discrimination against non-English speaking countries, it is not a normal way of selling.
    There are several reasons why Xbox sales have been so disastrous in Asia, but Microsoft's attitude of not considering consumers' position seems to be the biggest problem.
  • Displaying supported languages on Xbox Store game pages just makes sense for accessibility to players whose primary language is not English, and accessibility is something the Xbox team is communicating to players recently.
    This is a separate but adjacent topic; the developers of The Medium, one of the most anticipated games for Xbox Series X, has confirmed that the game will not support Korean language. This is not good, since this will supposedly be a story driven game. What good is a story driven game if the players cannot understand the story?
    If Microsoft requires developers to include and display supported languages, perhaps the developers will now have an incentive to include multiple languages in their games. Which, in turn, enables players not fluent in English to enjoy more games. No brainer for accessibility, Xbox!
  • I am Korean. Every time I try to buy a game, I can't check the language on xbox.com, so I have to check it out somewhere else. Microsoft doesn't seem to know how uncomfortable this is.
  • The most surprising thing about entering the Xbox was that I couldn't figure out what language games support. We'll have to know if the game supports Korean, so we can buy it or not, but Microsoft doesn't provide us with this basic information. Please improve the Xbox game page so that I can know the language that the game supports.
  • I am not good at English, but I like XBOX. I want to easily find and enjoy many games on XBOX, which is released in my language. Please help me.
  • I am Korean.When I buy a game in the store, I think there is an error in the fact that I have to search the language information that this game supports.
    Of course, I think language support information is essential in the store.
  • This is the first time I bought xbox one x. I was so surprised to see the store. The supported language of the game was not written. I only think that MS is not interested in localizing. I realized. This is why Xbox was not popular in Korea. As it is time for new devices to come out, it is urgent for Microsoft to change its attitude.
  • I am an Xbox fan living in Korea.
    I'm looking forward to buying XSS this time.
    I am not good at English.
    I'm just playing Korean games.
    Microsoft store doesn't have language information.
    I don't know if this is a Hangul support or not.
    I bought it because it was explained in Korean.
    I was embarrassed because it was only in English. Why the world-class Microsoft is on the store?
    Don't they support language information for many games?
  • Displaying the language info on not only Microsoft Store on PC but also on Console should be mandatory if Microsoft is truely aiming for the global market. Why do customers have to buy the game to find out if the game supports their own language (Korean, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese etc)? Not only supporting foreign languages on more games (especially first party games) but also displaying these languages on any stores related to Xbox should be a top-priority for the global markets.
  • I am a Korean xbox user.
    We strongly support language support services.
  • Korean Xbox game players tried to solve this problem for years but it has not fixed yet. Some users even purchasae some xbox game titles from overseas to check whether or not Korean language supported. More worse cases are the description in the xbox store is all Korean but the game itself is only English. I can not understand why the basic information of the product is not fully disclosed to the customers. All users can not speak in English. Even I want to play games in my mother language because it is much eaiser to play. Microsoft really needs to update the basic language information for every game like Steam. I am sure that this is the essential right for a customer to know all information in the store page.
  • In an atmosphere that values diversity and individuality, not supporting languages from around the world goes against the trend of the times.
  • Non-English-speaking consumers are the same, but if they are being treated unfairly, it is difficult to maintain loyalty.
  • I am Korean. As a fan of Xbox, I think the only drawback of Xbox is its language support mark. If this problem is not solved, I think the Xbox in Korea will repeat its second failure. I hope this problem will be solved so that we can continue to enjoy Xbox in Korea.
  • Freedom of language is also a consumer's right.
    Non-English gamers also demand freedom of language.
  • I am a Korean who likes Xbox. Some games do not speak Korean well, but when you try to buy a game from the store, the language display is not correct. If Korean users aren't beta testers and don't give refunds like Steam, there is no reason to use Xbox anymore if they only sell Xbox in Korea and don't care!
  • Hello, I am a Korean who successfully made a reservation for "XBOX X" series. I bought and enjoyed the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 PRO versions and joined the XBOX camp for the first time, and my first impression was that it was very difficult to find information. I was surprised that there was no basic language information. I think this language information must be added.
  • Please add languages infos on Xbox Store for perfect gaming life!
  • I thought it was a Korean-translated game to play with my friends or children, because xbox shop say so, but it was not translated in some cases. And most of the time they don't even have language info of the game.
    I don't want to go through fan-made Google spreadsheets or the Internet to find translated games to play with friends or children. Not anymore :(
    Yes, that's right. Not everyone in the world speaks English fluently.
  • Should I ask you to do something for granted?
    Just don't sell products if you don't want to do business in Korea.
  • Hi. I am a Korean gamer who pre-purchased the Xbox Series X.
    I think the Xbox series x is the best console ever.
    However, if there is nothing to enjoy on the console, it is a waste of money.
    Language support is a really big factor in deciding what games to enjoy for gamers.
    It is surprising that Microsoft does not provide language information, which is a basic option for choosing a game.
    Even the perfect hardware is a tool to enjoy the game after all.
    Please stick to the basic information display to help us experience a new world through this new console.
  • I am a Korean Xbox user. Language support and display of language information are very important. I hope it will come true.
  • I think it is impossible for Microsoft to become Netflix in the gaming world without active localizing in non-English speaking countries.
    Masterpiece games have been released, but non-English speakers must play MS Store first to see if the game supports their own language.
    Please don't ignore the requests made by non-English speakers.
  • Language support display is default
    Please be considerate of non-English speaking countries.
  • The Korean console game market is dominated by PS4.
    There are several reasons for this, but one of them is that there is no store language information.
    It is not known whether the game supports Korean or not before purchasing the game you want to buy.
    Due to this problem, Korean gamers often give up buying games or buy them on other platforms. Currently, XBOX SERIES X/S response is quite good in Korea. To keep this atmosphere going,
    There should be a lot of store language information and Korean language support games. If this atmosphere continues, it will take away a significant portion of PS's share in the Korean console game market.
  • It is too much compared to other console models when playing games in Korea. The problem of not being a lang