Meta has spent the last few years working to get more into video games. It started this with the launch of Facebook Gaming back in 2018, it bought Oculus so it would have naming rights on the Oculus Quest VR headset, and even its recent emphasis on the “Metaverse” is, in a way, another avenue to get into video games. An example of this is the late-2021 release of Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality game for the Oculus set in the “metaverse.” It’s basically their answer to the extremely popular VRChat that almost everyone with a VR headset has played before.
Of course, to build up a large platform, Meta needs a large user base and there’s no better way to do that than offer the game all over the world. Earlier this week, Meta announced that it would be launching Horizon Worlds in France and Spain. There was one very important detail though that anyone reading the announcement probably thought was odd, and it’s that the game would be in English only.
Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced we’re making Horizon Worlds available to people aged 18 or older in France and Spain in English only. This is part of our ongoing plan to roll Horizon Worlds out to more people in Europe this year.
Even if there are plenty of people in France and Spain perfectly capable of playing a game that is English only, all the people who do not speak the language or aren’t fluent enough to play a game in English pretty much can’t play the game or have to ignore all the in-game instructions and tutorials. According to Gizmodo writer Jody Serrano, there is a horrible attempt at mixing Spanish and English within the game that leads to confusion for everyone.
“Things get worse when once you actually enter the game. Some sections offer a mix of Spanish and English, while others offer bad Spanish translations that even Spanish speakers like me can’t understand.”
Serrano goes on to explain the multiple ways that they mistranslated English words into Spanish and even went so far as to point out that Google Translate does a better job than the official in-game translation attempts. This is all a reminder of how important having an actual localization team is when shipping a game overseas, something Meta seems to have not placed much value in.