Some games enable you to play the part of the hero. Kim Kardashian’s new mobile app enables you to play the part of a celebrity … and it’s making tons of money.
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood debuted late last month on iOS and Android from developer Glu mobile, and it is already amping up that developer’s bottom line. In a note to investors, Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz wrote that he predicts that it could generate as much as $200 million in revenue annually. The free-to-play game has players trying to move up the ladder of fame by dating famous people and seducing other celebrities’ boyfriends … really. Kardashian, who married world-famous rapper Kanye West this year, guides players and presents them with challenges. They can get ahead with those events by making in-app purchases, and many obviously are. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is the fifth highest-grossing app on iOS, and it is No. 18 on Google Play.
To reach that $200-million prediction, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood will need to keep attracting new players as well as retaining its present audience. That’s a difficult challenge, but it’s one that games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out, The Hobbit: Kingdoms, and others have previously accomplished. The celebrity simulator already has more than a million downloads on both iOS and Android.
“If Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is able to maintain a top-10-grossing ranking through Q3, we think Glu revenue for the third quarter will likely exceed $50 million,” said Creutz. “[That’s] well above the developer’s current guidance in the mid-to-high $30-million range.”
Glu Mobile is starting to find consistent success with hits like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. The developer has long specialized in free-to-play games on iOS and Android with high-quality 3D visuals, but few of its games found significant audiences over the last few years. Recently, however, it has started to find success with shooter Deer Hunter 2014 and the Eternity Warriors III role-playing game.
Part of its recent success comes down to how Glu is using brands. Deer Hunter is an example of this. That franchise is a well-known popular arcade game, and it is now consistently one of the top-downloaded apps on mobile. Kim Kardashian, however, is the culmination of Glu’s new strategy. Before partnering with the reality-television star, Glu produced Stardom: Hollywood, which was the same game without anyone famous attached to it. By combining Kardashian’s star power with its previously established game, Glu has mixed up a money-making cocktail.
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is making stacks of cash, but it is also pleasing her fans. It has more than 60,000 five-star reviews on the iTunes App Store and Google Play.
The challenge for Glu now is to keep its momentum going. It has already doled out a few updates to keep the most dedicated (re: biggest-spending) players returning every day. That includes Punta Mita, Mexico, which is “a new place to date” according to developer’s description.