Business Overview

 

Who we are

Keywords is an international technical services provider to the global video games industry.  Established in 1998, and now with facilities in Dublin, Tokyo, Rome, Montreal and Seattle, it provides integrated localisation, testing and audio services across 30 languages and 12 games platforms to a blue chip client base in more than 15 countries.

What we do

Keywords provides localisation, audio and testing services to the global video games market from offices in Dublin, Tokyo, Rome, Montreal and Seattle.  Its service offering includes:

  • Localisation – translation and cultural adaption including age rating support across different platforms
  • Localisation Testing – testing that the translated and adapted content fits the games context
  • Audio – voice over recordings including script translation and actor selection
  • Functional Testing  - testing for defects and compliance with console specifications

Our vision and strategy

The Group intends to continue to grow organically, building on its existing expertise to further extend its technical services offering to the games industry. In addition, the Group plans to play a leading role in the consolidation of the highly fragmented games services industry through selective acquisitions of complementary businesses.   The Directors believe that there is clear opportunity for Keywords to build on its existing relationships with many of the major games companies by extending its services offering and geographical footprint as follows:

New Service Activities:

  • By expanding its services downstream into operational support services of games including developing multilingual customer services support (such as offering support to gamers through online forums, email and over the phone); payments services (to support microtransactions such as in-game purchases or content bolt-ons); and analytics (probably in partnership with a leading predictive analytics firm, offering customers analysis of game data as well as embedded real time analytics);
  • By moving further upstream into original games content development services, including art outsourcing (such as 2D and 3D concept art and character animation using sophisticated software systems); original language audio (undertaking the original audio recording on the master game as opposed to only currently providing voiceover and dubbing); and motion capture (the process of recording actions of, for example, human actors using sensors and multiple cameras, and using that information to animate digital character models in 3D computer games animation).

Geographic Expansion:

Asia Pacific, which accounts for three out of the top four video games markets in the world, is projected to be the fastest growing region during the next five years, increasing to $40 billion in 2016 (2011: $24 billion)1.  The Group may therefore look to strengthen its global presence by opening facilities in South Korea and China responding to existing customers already requesting support in such countries, whilst also taking advantage of the lower cost base and access to more resources.  There is similar demand from customers requiring support in Brazil, another large growth market for video games.

Outsourcing:

It is becoming technically costly for publishers and developers to cater themselves for all types of games localisation around the world, given the growing complexity of entertainment software products and business models.  As international demand for video games rises, Keywords believes it can demonstrate to the blue chip games companies that its Group has the geographical footprint, capacity and expertise for such companies to outsource all their localisation requirements to Keywords.

Acquisitions:

Complementary to the Group’s organic growth opportunities, the Directors will consider selective acquisitions which are considered value enhancing where they enlarge the Group’s client base, market penetration and / or service lines and where the Group can use its existing expertise, multi-service platform, scale and global reach to generate synergies and increase profitability.  The Group may also consider acquisitions or joint ventures which provide a platform for it to take its core technical expertise into new, adjacent entertainment markets such as online gambling, E-learning and film dubbing and subtitle services.

History and Background

Founded in Ireland in 1998, by Teresa Luppino and Giorgio Guastalla, Keywords’ operational headquarters remain in Dublin.  Originally established as a localisation service provider to the business software market, the Company gradually became exposed to the more creative challenge of localising video games.  In 2004, working in partnership with a key client, Keywords developed a new model of video game localisation testing whereby native language testers play, test and report bugs in the localised versions of the games covering both functional and linguistic aspects simultaneously.  Previously such processes would have been handled by separate teams of non-native testers supported by linguists or two separate teams, one focusing on functional issues in the localised game builds and another looking at linguistic elements only. The Directors believe that Keywords was the first to perform computer game localisation testing in this new way which enabled it to provide a superior service compared to its competitors at that time.

In 2005, Keywords made a strategic decision to focus only on the localisation and testing of video games and over the following years it earned a reputation for delivering a quality, tailored service.

In March 2009, Andrew Day joined Keywords as Chief Executive Officer, further driving the growth of the Group and gaining new strategic customers. He became a significant shareholder in Keywords in 2012, following the delivery of his maximum performance targets.

In November 2009, driven by the demands of existing clients, Keywords commenced its geographic expansion by opening its Tokyo office, with capacity for 100 employees per shift specialising in Asian languages.

In June 2010, Keywords moved to new premises in Dublin due to its rapid organic expansion, whilst also taking advantage of falling rents in the Irish economy at the time.  In the same year Keywords opened its first North American production facility in Montreal principally to provide a physical presence for its existing customers in North America and to service the games company cluster in Quebec.  This was followed in 2011 by the integration of Keywords Italia SRL, Rome.  The Group’s geographic expansion continued in September 2012, in response to ongoing rapid growth and client demand, with the start of Company’s operations in Seattle.


1PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, 2012-2016
Game Globalization
Keywords' deep knowledge of the certification, terminology, and platform compliance process has led major industry players to choose us as the backbone of their globalization and localization process.
 
Game Localization
From translation to creative adaptation, from audio transcreation to casting, art localization, age rating and cultural adaption support, we offer our customers a one-stop solution to their localization needs.
 
Functional Testing
Here at Keywords we are aware of the need for thorough QA on all titles. Poor QA could affect sales and perceived quality of titles. Our team is here to help find the most difficult of issues and improve the stability of your titles.
 
Localization Testing
Localization and functional testing are key phases for the release of any software or any digital media. We have developed an innovative and unique testing process that delivers top quality results whilst also generating significant cost savings.
 
Quality Control
Available to our customers as well, our language QA department can cater to all your needs from complete outsource localization quality control to ad hoc services complementing your in house or 3rd party provider.