Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    A Starbucks/Gloria Jeans in Sydney
    Posts
    250
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood

    Generally speaking Europe + Australia (for reasons of tradition, I will call them the PAL regions) gets their local version of games later than North America and/or Japan. For the European games, I understand that there needs to be good translation. And as I found out in translating between Japanese (my native language) and English (which I have had experience in since kindergarden), such thing is so much easier said than done. Of course it'll take long for, say, Final Fantasy to be translated from Japanese into, say, French or German.

    What I fail to understand #1:
    Why are the English version of the games don't have the same, or closer release dates together. This refers to USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. What is the problem of UK getting the English version first before all the other European countries? I can't imagine there would be language issues - American TV shows are regularly shown in Australia and New Zealand, and both countries use variations of British English. Are there technical reasons that hampers this? (Such as NTSC vs PAL, or 50Hz vs 60Hz for TV-dependant consoles.) There may be different censorship laws, but that's no reason why Australia/UK should get games 6-12 months later than the US. Or is there a legislation-related reason that requires certain languages to be accessible under UK/EU Parliament? (Or a Maori language under NZ legislation?)

    What I fail to understand #2:
    Suppose a Japanese/US game developer wants to explore the PAL-region market for one of its games that operates on a Nintendo Wii. But they have no idea whether it'll be a success there, and hesitates from working towards a PAL-region release. What's stopping them from releasing just the English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish language versions first, then roll out the German/Italian versions later? (Keep in mind that there are more speakers of English/French than German/Italian, and even more for Portugese and Spanish. French is used in France, Quebec, and parts of Belgium and Switzerland. Portuguese is spoken in both Portugal and Brazil, and Spanish is Spain and rest of Latin America. And if I remember correctly, Nintendo is known/sold/played in all these countries.)

    Don't get me wrong about this. Ideally, everyone in the world should be able to enjoy the game in question, no matter the language. And thankfully most of us can say that for Pokemon X and Y. But Nintendo and other game makers/developers are profit-making company after all. If economics are to be considered for a franchise/series that is yet to have exposure and publicity, then it would make logical sense to first explore a more sizable market, no?
    Last edited by henrymidfields; 1st June 2014 at 08:05 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood

    Quote Originally Posted by henrymidfields View Post
    What's stopping them from releasing just the English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish language versions first, then roll out the German/Italian versions later?
    It used to be (and I don't know about now) that they would often print multilingual versions of the game, so the same version of the game was used in multiple regions. Logistically, it makes more sense than to worry about printing the same product into 12 different versions to be sold on one continent.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    A Starbucks/Gloria Jeans in Sydney
    Posts
    250
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default Re: Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood

    Quote Originally Posted by AKluthe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by henrymidfields View Post
    What's stopping them from releasing just the English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish language versions first, then roll out the German/Italian versions later?
    It used to be (and I don't know about now) that they would often print multilingual versions of the game, so the same version of the game was used in multiple regions. Logistically, it makes more sense than to worry about printing the same product into 12 different versions to be sold on one continent.
    Still doesn't explain why said language-specific products can't be used in say, both Mexico/Spain, or US/UK - that'll still be a sizable catchment per version for Spanish/Portugese/English. Or just do a French/Portugese/Spanish version first, and add all the other languages later on; that's still nowhere near 12 versions.

  4. #4
    Imma drink my tears & cry Fairy Ice Ricky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    U. S. of A.
    Posts
    1,710
    Blog Entries
    20
    Follow Fairy Ice Ricky On Twitter
    Follow Fairy Ice Ricky on Tumblr

    Default Re: Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood

    So I think a major factor missing from this discussion is the amount of video game rating systems a game must go through to be released. This is the most comprehensive article I can find on the differing standards of game rating systems, and while it may not shed light on the whole situation since this article pretty much focuses on indie developers with much more restrictive budgets, I think we can at least make educated guesses on why companies with not-so-limited budgets (like Nintendo) also have staggered releases.

    But basically, the rating system is a main reason (if not the exact reason depending on the size of the company) why there's such a staggered release even between same-language countries. First off, you must pay to get your game rated by PEGI (spans all of Europe sans Germany), USK (Germany), and COB (formerly OFLC; I believe Aussie & NZ are under the name classification board, but the process is separate for each one). Note how you don't have to pay for an ESRB rating--many companies have to rely on profitable sales from North American releases in order to pay for rating costs in other regions, since those expenses cannot be covered in the initial budget. Also, unlike the requirements for the ESRB, you pretty much need a complete game on physical media (game disc, cartridge, USB, etc.) in order for your game to be classified by the other major classification boards. (So basically, you must have your game complete to get it rated by PEGI/USK/COB, whereas with the ESRB you kinda don't have to just as long as you're honest about the gameplay of the incomplete parts in your initial application.) And then when you take into account the changes a developer must make due to different cultural norms and regional slang (U.S. football vs. Euro football for example), these other things tend to make the process even longer.

    Again, for bigger companies this is less of an issue--Super Mario 3D World was released to most of the world within ten days I believe, and Watch Dogs just recently had a same-day international release. But those two are examples of either an-already established franchise that is almost guaranteed to make money (3D World--compared to like the Metroid series anyway) or a new franchise that the developer is betting will make a big first-game splash (Watch Dogs). When you then look at a situation like Shin Megami Tensei IV, a game that: 1) is developed by an established-but-not-as-big company (Atlus); 2) doesn't have as big of a cultural imprint as other franchises (and this game is arguably part of Atlus's biggest franchise); and 3) is probably riddled with more cultural-specific nuances that must be explained fully or reworked for markets outside of Japan... And then when you factor production costs and the very possible reality that the game won't sell enough to at least cover production costs in other regions, well it kinda makes sense why SMT IV hasn't yet been released in Europe.

    So yeah, it sucks that there are still staggered releases even now (don't even get me started on staggered album releases), but a lot of the hurdles that are perpetuating this staggering hasn't been updated yet to reflect changes in the 21st century (slash these hurdles may not want to change). And since money plays a big role in this business, companies will most likely be a little conservative in order to ensure profit.

    3DS Friend Code: 5086-1398-3204 ▪|▪ 3DS/Pokémon X Name: Ricky
    Friend Safari: Steel - Klefki, Ferroseed, Forretress
    Claims: Lucario & Lucarionite ▪|▪ Teravolt ▪|▪ Fusion Bolt ▪|▪ Red Orb ▪|▪ Boutique [Pokémon X/Y]

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    A Starbucks/Gloria Jeans in Sydney
    Posts
    250
    Blog Entries
    15

    Default Re: Staggered Release Dates for PAL regions - question for things not understood

    Ah, so you actually have to pay for PEGI/, as opposed to ERSB in the US. Well, I guess that would complicate things, wouldn't they?

    So that means that if say, Developer ABC made a Game XYZ for Europe, then it would be less cumbersome, and cost less in application fees etc, to have all five major PAL-region/European languages onto a single version of XYZ.

    Whereas if the ABC releases XYZ in two stages (English/French/Spanish/Portugese in the earlier versions and Italian/German added later), then ABC must undergo the same checks twice under ERSB. Depending on risk management, ABC may have to do the same check twice also for the USK rating. (Keeping in mind that non-German-language games from the EU can leak into Germany - which can lead into potential lawsuits for ABC if XYZ isn't USK-rated.) Why on earth does Germany have a separate rating??? >:(

    Thanks, Ice Ricky, for sharing this info! :)


    Ladies and gentlemen, please bring those opinions/reasonings/theories forward!

    Regards,
    henrymidfields

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •