One of the biggest pain points of the Xbox effort in recent years has fallen almost entirely on localization. We don't see those problems in the UK or U.S. so much, but in countries where English isn't the default language, Xbox can feel a bit foreign.
We've written extensively in the past about issues with Xbox in other countries, using feedback and testimony from fans all around the world. We've heard from Korean Xbox fans, who built up their own list of games that support their language since there's no way to filter it on Xbox Live. We've heard from fans from across places like China and Hong Kong about the Xbox Store's inability to differentiate between traditional and simplified Chinese. And we all know the tales of Xbox's weak penetration in Japan, leaving us with many gaps in the Xbox library when compared to the competition.
There are plenty of other examples from across the globe where Xbox's language and localization efforts have fallen short. However, with recent updates to the Xbox Store, we're starting to see improvements to the situation.
New supported languages chart
Now, on the Xbox Store, there's a new chart that shows off in detail what languages are supported within different aspects of the game. Not every game supports this yet, which may require Microsoft to enact policy changes on its developers to force them to include this information. However, there are a handful of games that are starting to list out this information.
If you go to a game's store page, then scroll down to details, then highlights, some games show a list of supported languages in a handy chart format. This shows how the languages are displayed across the game's interface, audio, and subtitles, in every major language across every supported Xbox region.
A step in the right direction
As of writing, there's no way to search and filter against this information, which is one of the biggest issues for gamers in non-English markets. Many games simply don't even have audio or localized subtitles for various languages for whatever reason, and if you're unable to filter against that information, it's hard to know what games you'll actually be able to play.
If Microsoft's aspirations of reaching the world's two-billion strong gaming market across phones, consoles, and PC are genuine, then further investment in localization for those regions is an absolute must. Naturally, there are problems from a business perspective to nail language support for all of the world's hundreds upon hundreds of languages and dialects, but at the very least, people should be able to filter and search based on their region, without needing to resort to fan-curated lists. To that end, Microsoft should also probably require their developers to list supported languages in the future to support search filters.
Either way, this is a great step in the right direction, even if there's still work to be done.
Thanks to @FVSfabricio for the tip!
Jez Corden is a Senior 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!
Thanks for promoting the idea of languages!
I also want to thank people who added the russian dubbed version of Fable 2 to Xbox store. Our players fanbase appreciate it very much.
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