Doug MacMillan of BusinessWeek has an interesting story today on the business challenge facing Zynga and its peers - making it's goofy "Farmville" type games play in other countries. It's another example of how cottage industries can spring up and provide jobs in ways no central planner can anticipate.
Seriously, this guy makes a living translating social network games for Latin American markets. How many days has it been since something like that has even been a job?
Internationalizing a game requires knowledge of country-specific traditions, architecture, holidays, and currencies—all crucial elements in games that are supposed to feel like simulations of the real world. "To really localize a game, it goes beyond translation," says Juan Franco, chief executive officer of Mentez. The four-year-old company specializes in adaptations for South and Central America, and has offices in São Paolo, Mexico City, Bogotá, and Medellin, Colombia. Russian company 101XP helps U.S. game designers crack the Eastern European market and target users on the region's biggest social networks, including Mail.ru. Hong Kong-based 6waves customizes social media games for Asian audiences.
I may not play the games - but that doesn't stop me from appreciating how cool that is and noting what a good article MacMillan writes about the growth of this new form of business.