After the UK, Germany has the second highest smartphone penetration, making the country a strong potential opportunity for your app or game. Around 60% of Germans can read and write English, but apps tend to have a greater impact when localised.
Germany’s large population means as many as 66 million people are attributed as smartphone users and therefore are within the target group for both apps and games. Also, at least 34 million Germans can be considered users of various gaming platforms, be it console, pc, smartphones or other devices –of these, 15 million and growing can be considered primarily mobile gamers. so apps and games have more chance of succeeding if they’re tailored towards local needs and differences. With that in mind, let’s explore 6 key factors that can help your title succeed in Germany.
Popular game and app categories
Germany is home to Europe’s largest gaming population. The popular game types are casual – often played during downtimes in the day – and also competitive/strategy. German consumers prefer games based on skill rather than luck, but a large market for gambling-style games also exists.
Each year, more than 370,000 gamers attend Gamescom in Cologne, which has become one of the largest consumer events in the world.
Users in Germany spend several hours a day consuming digital content on their mobile devices. The top categories are social media and messaging, followed by dating, streaming and entertainment. Music, sports, TV and movies are also popular on mobile, as are news and transportation apps.
The Euro (€) is Germany’s official currency. While Euro coins and notes bear different designs in each EU member country, they are all interchangeable and share the same value.
There is no official guide on how prices should appear. For example, 10,00€ or 0,99€ or 99 cent or 10,00€, are all acceptable. The plural is ‘euro’ and ‘cent’ – although there are a few exceptions to the latter in some countries. In day-to-day use, the cent can be written as ‘c’ or ‘ct’.
When showing Euro coins digitally, it’s better to show the face up ‘value’ side rather than the reverse, which features national designs.
Forms of payment
German consumers prefer using PayPal or Direct Carrier Billing (charged to their mobile phone bill) for most digital and non-digital payments. The third most popular payment type is credit card.
Depending on your app or game, you’ll need to choose carefully between using either formal or informal German.
Formal German is more polite, but can feel dated or distant and you might even confuse people by using it. Informal German is more personal and becoming increasingly common as cultural norms shift. However, it may still seem rude or invasive to some.
Generally though, most titles use informal – apart from some business apps, which prefer a more serious tone.
When writing German, be aware that words are not usually shortened, and phrases tend to be very specific. Without exception, all verbs, nouns and names are capitalised.
Words from other languages are also often used, especially in games or very modern apps like news, sport or dating. Most of these loaned words stem from English, but French and Latin are also common.
If a word is too long, look for a common ancestor word with an English equivalent. For example, ‘defense’ (‘Verteidigung’) could become the Latin-derived ‘Defensive’.
Font, layout, and user interface
Text string lengths
Depending on the context and circumstance, German can be a very defined and exact language, resulting in long sentences and even longer words. Avoid the temptation to shorten them though, as meanings can easily become distorted.
There is no standard German font, so you’ll need to choose one that feels right for your app, game or target audience. Just make sure it can support German special characters, or ‘Umlaut’, which are Ä/ä, Ö/ö and Ü/ü. They can also appear as Ae/ae, Oe/oe and Ue/ue – although using these implies a lack of care or attention, and should be avoided.
Your chosen font should also support ‘ß’, or ‘sz’ – a sharp s. However, it is acceptable to use double s (‘ss’) instead. For example, ‘Faß’ (Barrel) becomes ‘Fass’.
Germany is heavily influenced by pop culture from the US, Japan and Russia, plus traditional influences from other European neighbors.
As such, Germans are open-minded to new genres, themes and topics. They are also fairly accepting of language or sexual content – but won’t tolerate violence or a display of weapons. While the former will result in your title having a somewhat higher age rating, violence and weapons always tend to be rated 16 or 18.
Gambling is strictly regulated in Germany and can only take place in venues such as state-owned casinos. There is a distinction to be made though. In some countries, purely luck-based games that look like gambling or emulate casinos are seen as gambling. Whereas in Germany, if no monetary wins are involved, it’s not counted as gambling.
YouTube and social media consumption in Germany is among the highest in the world, and many app or game developers use these platforms to successfully reach and engage their target users.