Glu Mobile announced today that it has partnered with music superstar Taylor Swift to develop a new mobile game. The move represents Swift’s first foray into mobile games, but Glu has been specializing in starpower ever since it established the celebrity mobile game market with the megahit Kim Kardashian: Hollywood in mid-2014.
Glu has deals with celebrities who collectively have more than a billion followers on social media. That’s important because the rising cost of advertising for mobile games has driven game developers to be creative about getting eyeballs for the newest mobile titles in a sea of apps. Celebrities take their cut of the proceeds, but they also offer a huge boon on social media because they can share games with their audience with no extra advertising costs.
San Francisco-based Glu figured out this model with Kim Kardashian, who can keep interest in her own game high by tweeting about it. Niccolo De Masi, chief executive of Glu, talked about this advantage at our GamesBeat 2015 conference in October. Glu has also followed the Kardashian game with one about Katy Perry’s life, and it has signed deals with Britney Spears, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, and Nicky Minaj.
Celebrities are noticing that mobile games can be lucrative. The Kardashian game generated $146 million in revenue to date. The Taylor Swift game will be a “one-of-a-kind digital gaming experience.”
Swift has more than 227 million followers on social, including 74 million on Facebook, 70.4 million on Twitter, 64.8 million on Instagram, and 18 million on Vevo. (There’s some overlap on those channels).
The title will come out in late 2016, and Glu will release more details later.
“Bringing with her over 227 million social followers, I am thrilled to welcome Taylor Swift, an award-winning singer, musician and songwriter, to Glu’s family,” said De Masi, in a statement. “We realize that Taylor and her global fan base expect a new and highly differentiated mobile gaming experience. Glu is equally committed to designing never before seen gameplay elements that utilize Taylor’s unique creativity. Accordingly, we will spend the required development time to ensure this innovation is achieved.”
Swift has won seven Grammy Awards, 19 American Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association awards, 9 Academy of Country Music awards, 22 Billboard Music awards, one Brit award, one Emmy award, and 25 Teen Choice Awards. She is the only woman in history to be named Billboard Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” twice, in 2011 and most recently again in 2014. In 2015, she was named one of Time Magazine’s ‘”100 Most Influential People in the World.” Her albums have sold more than 40 million copies.
My favorite Taylor Swift song is “Teardrops On My Guitar.”