Mobile gamers are now trying to keep up with Kim Kardashian.
The reality star and businesswoman is well-known in many industries, and her next frontier appears to be mobile gaming: Kardashian has allowed her likeness to be used in a mobile app called "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood." The app, which launched on the Apple App Store on June 27, has quickly become a hit among iOS users, and its popularity is expected to translate into lots of money for Kardashian and game developer Glu Mobile Inc. (NASDAQ:GLUU).
Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo de Masi told Forbes’ Maseena Ziegler that the company wanted to rebrand one of its games, "Stardom Hollywood," so it approached Kardashian to be involved with the project on the belief that her star power and persona suited the game perfectly.
“Everyone quickly recognized the tremendous business opportunity,” Masi said.
The game takes users on a Hollywood social-climbing journey. A virtual Kardashian appears in the game as a guide, helping users transform from an E-list celebrity to an A-list celebrity. While "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is free to play at the basic level, it can become expensive for dedicated users, who can spend up to $99.99 for 175,000 virtual dollars. In early July, Jezebel's Tracie Egan Morrissey notably spent nearly $500 on in-app purchases to advance herself in the game; her spending earned her the title of A-list celebrity and 50 million fans.
Revenue and stock predictions are high for the company that makes the game, which has only been available for three weeks. Cowen & Co. Analyst Douglas Creutz told Bloomberg that "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" could make up to $200 million, lifting Glu Mobile’s stock as high as $6 in the next year. TMZ reported that Kardashian could take home 45 percent of the app’s earnings.
The game is among the top five most-downloaded, free-to-play games in Apple's App Store. It also has more than 40,000 five-star reviews, according to Bloomberg. However, the publication noted that mobile gaming crazes can be fleeting. Nothing demonstrates that better than the 2013 cautionary tale of "Candy Crush." That mobile game, by King Digital Entertainment (NASDAQ:KING), earned $1.9 billion in revenue in 2013 at the height of its popularity; however, when the company went public in March, King quickly realized it couldn’t rely on just one game to keep its revenues high. Now, users can find similar game,s such as "Pepper Panic," "Pet Rescue" and "Farm Heroes," among King’s offerings.
According to Creutz, the biggest challenge for free-to-play games is getting users to make in-app purchases, but Glu has an advantage over its competitors: Its percentage of in-app purchases is significantly above average for a mobile game.
Another fairly well-known game by Glu is "Deer Hunter," and its other successful titles include "Dino Hunter: Deadly Shores" and "Hercules."