Unlocking the power of inclusion in gaming

Unlocking the power of inclusion in gaming

March 22, 2024

At a glance:

  • The award-winning game Osmos has released a new update and with it new strings of Inuktitut, translated by Pinnguaq.
  • Representation in games, including having the game available in various languages, opens doors and opportunities for a stronger, more diverse industry and gaming community.
  • Developers looking to localize their games can connect with Pinnguaq.

Pinnguaq has always been about play – our desire to make the gaming and tech industry more accessible has never faltered. Our challenge to the sector? Make products that are accessible to rural, remote and Indigenous communities. Hemisphere Games did just that with Osmos (and a little help from Pinnguaq).

“When you see people who look like you, speak your language, and come from your community in the industry – it immediately becomes an option,” says Ryan Oliver, CEO of Pinnguaq.

“The games industry in Canada is massive, one of the largest in the world. We make games for every country and in partnership with companies around the globe, including many of the largest franchises on the planet. It is vital that as it grows that (in this case) Inuktitut speakers see and hear themselves in that industry. It will open doors and provide opportunities for a better, stronger and more diverse games industry and the games we all get to experience.”

Osmos won the Game of the Year award in 2010. Not long after, Oliver connected with Hemisphere Games, after he noticed an element named “Atanarjuat” in the game, a nod to a Canadian film based on an Inuit legend. Oliver reached out to Eddy Boxerman of Hemisphere Games with an idea about how amazing it would be to have such a high quality game translated into Inuktitut for people to play in their own language.

Boxerman was quickly on board and when Osmos 2.3 was released in 2013, it included an Inuktitut version. It was Pinnguaq’s first project and one that aligned beautifully with the organization’s initial slogan, “Play in Your Language.”

Over the years, Boxerman says he’s reached out to OIiver for a few updates, “basically every time we added new text to the game.” 

A recent update – adding gamepad support for those wishing to play through Apple’s new headset, the Vision Pro – also includes new strings of Inuktitut, translated through Pinnguaq Studio, our social enterprise. The studio offers best-in-class design and localization services to game developers, maintaining our commitment to ensuring everyone can play in their language.

“Before I emailed Ryan to ask if he’d be up for getting some new strings translated for an Osmos update, I had a look at the Pinnguaq website. It had been almost five years, and I was blown away at just how much it had evolved! There is just so much happening there now – clearly the result of a thriving community and business! It warmed my heart to see, especially knowing how it all started,” says Boxerman. “Needless to say, I’m happy Ryan was able to work with the team to get the latest strings translated so we can continue to have a thoughtful and complete translation of Osmos in Inuktitut.”

By creating games in multiple languages – including Inuktitut, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, in the case of Osmos – developers can help foster a sense of belonging within the gaming community and promote diversity as a core value. It also allows for market expansion as the localized content is more likely to resonate with different audiences who now feel seen and represented, like they belong, in the game. Feeling like they belong in the gaming world may inspire people from equity-deserving communities to pursue careers in the industry, something Pinnguaq has long been advocating for and supporting through various digital skill-building programs.

“We are constantly fundraising for unique localization projects to minimize costs on developers,” says Oliver, noting anyone interested in expanding their market through an Inuktitut localization is invited to reach out to Pinnguaq through our Contact page.

For more information about Osmos, visit the website or find the forum for you at Hemisphere Games.