Kim Kardashian Hollywood

BCM215

At the beginning of the semester and reading BCM215’s name- Game Media Industries, I already imagined having to study gaming and gamers, something I had never thought of myself as. Although the entire semester looked over the gaming industry and its different areas, I surprisingly enjoyed the weekly topics and the freedom I had with my DA. I decided after identifying that I’ve always been interested in celebrities and their reasons for their partnerships, that researching and analysing the involvement and the celebrity’s reasons for developing mobile games would allow me to answer the questions I had always had.

I decided to take my approach and analyse celebrity mobile games through a financial and marketing lens. As a commerce student as well as being a communications and media student, I find combining the two areas of my studies interesting. I wanted to see if there was a financial advantage for more than just the celebrity. Identifying if the celebrity is simply placing their name on the game for the financial benefit or if the development of the game is a venture they truly care about was something I knew I wanted to discover.

Initially, my goal was to play and analyse multiple mobile games which I had selected after researching which celebrities had developed games. After selecting the games I wanted to trial, I began my DA, but shortly after my pitch, I knew I needed to change my process because my plan was not achievable so I made the decision to research one game and one celebrity, more specifically, Kim Kardashian Hollywood (KKH) game. The concept of a celebrity can be seen as a commodity or as a commercial product that can be manufactured and traded by promotions and publicities in media industries (Marshall, 1997, 2014). A celebrity can also be seen as having or being a persona. Kim Kardashian has, like all other celebrities, her everyday persona and her celebrity persona which is portrayed and transferred into her KKH game. In the game, her character is your mentor who assists you in developing yourself as a celebrity ‌(Soehendar & Widjayanti, 2020).

15 Problems Only Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Addicts Understand
Cosmopolitan, 2014

Through my research, I learnt that Kim Kardashian Hollywood was released in 2014 which looking back on that year makes me feel old since I’m 2 years into Uni and that was the year I started high school. 2014 was also the year and time the Kardashian name took off, the marriage to her now ex-husband Kanye West and in general social media grew tremendously. The game in its initial launch accrued more than 42 million downloads and $13.6 million from in-app sales in its first quarter (The Kimpact: How Celebrity Apps are changing mobile gaming 2016). The money the game made in its first quarter was equivalent to 24% of the game developers, Glu Games’ revenue. This specific mobile game changed the gaming industry. It was now females who wanted to create and play games when the industry was previously so heavily led by males. Gamers preferred changing outfits rather than slaying dragons and it clearly showed with the success of Kim Kardashian Hollywood.

Financially, Kim Kardashian Hollywood has had significantly large success based on the earning the game as achieved and has been a great business move on Glu Games’ behalf especially approaching a celebrity with such a high celebrity status like Kim Kardashian. To partner with and create a mobile game suitable for her largely female audience and followers, it’s safe to say that she understood the assignment. She understood her audience and followers, their wants and needs and her understanding of how influential she is from her use of social media, and of course, let’s not forget Kris Jenner, they knew this would be the correct move to make. It was also a wise decision that Glu Games used the same mechanics as one of their previously developed games, Stardom Hollywood to use as the base of KKH.

Using the mechanics of an already existing game and rebranding the game to suit the celebrity was a simple way to have Kim Kardashian Hollywood live on the app store allowing for the downloads and ultimately the in-app purchases that accompany the game. Before beginning to analyse KKH, I mentioned I was questioning if the game was on-brand with Kim Kardashian as her aesthetic in all her other business and brand ventures has been neutral, simple but also sophisticated and at an initial glance, KKH looks like the opposite of her aesthetic. 

Games aesthetics as I mentioned in my game aesthetics blog post, is a determining factor on if you continue to or stop playing a particular game. Game aesthetics refers to the sensory phenomena that the player encounters in the game (visual, aural, haptic, embodied). Game aesthetics also refers to those aspects of digital games that are shared with other art forms. Lastly, game aesthetics is an expression of the game experienced as pleasure, emotion, sociability, form-giving. (Niedenthal 2009). 

Similarly, branding is important. Self-branding is a form of marketing that a person will use to develop a public picture or persona that exhibits their values and reputation and is very popular with celebrities (Fita, 2013). Often they translate this public persona into their ventures such as Kim Kardashian portraying herself as your celebrity mentor in the KKH game. She has also translated this persona in the way she markets and promotes her game on her social media platforms.

Social media marketing (SMM) is very important for the success of any business. SMM works by brands, in this case, Kim Kardashian, although she is a person, has also become a brand, engaging with existing customers (her followers) or reaching new and potential customers or followers to promote new or existing products, culture or missions through sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (Hayes 2021). 

Kim Kardashian has used her platforms to engage with her followers and 7 years later still promotes her game concluding that although she may have created this game intending to make money, the game has evolved to be more than just a game. It’s become a passion project she can pass down to her kids and followers to enjoy. The success of this game has to be attributed to her celebrity status and hence the financial benefits the game developers accrued as well as her portion of the profit. You can’t have finance without proper marketing. 

References:

Fita, M 2013, What is Self Branding?, 36creative, 36creative, viewed 29 October 2021, <https://36creative.com/branding/1901/self-branding&gt;.

Hayes, A,2021, What Is Social Media Marketing?, Investopedia, viewed 29 October 2021, <https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/social-media-marketing-smm.asp>.

Marshall, PD 2014, Celebrity and Power : Fame in Contemporary Culture, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. Viewed 29 October 2021], < https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/uow/reader.action?docID=1762165>

‌Niedenthal, S 2009, What We Talk About When We Talk About Game Aesthetics, DIVA, DiGRA Online Library, viewed 24th September, 29th October 2021, <https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1408066&dswid=7801&gt;.

‌Soehendar, TP & Widjayanti, EP 2020, THE MANIFESTATION OF KIM KARDASHIAN’S AESTHETIC AND GLAMOUR LABORS IN KIM KARDASHIAN: HOLLYWOOD MOBILE GAME | E-Journal of Cultural Studies, Unud.ac.id, viewed 29 October 2021, <https://ojs.unud.ac.id/index.php/ecs/article/view/70497>, <file:///Users/olivialopez/Downloads/70497-373-197105-1-10-20210210.pdf>. 

The Kimpact: How Celebrity Apps are changing mobile gaming 2016, Mixpanel, viewed 29 October 2021, <https://mixpanel.com/blog/celebrity-apps-changing-mobile-gaming/&gt;.

Celebrity Games Got a Whole Lot Beta

BCM215

My DA process has had a slow start but, week after week I have felt improvement within my research and the progress of my DA. With each weekly blog post, I have been able to further develop my research and ultimately my analytical frameworks.

Beginning my DA I had made the assumption that Kim Kardashian (KK) had developed a game with pop up ads and in-game purchases solely to make money and to enhance her rapid shot to fame she had been experiencing in 2014, but through my research I feel I judged this game and KK by the game’s cover too quickly. Through my game experience, my assumption has been proven true but what I’ve discovered from my research about this game and the mobile gaming industry has peaked my interest.

The mobile gaming industry is fairly new and there are hundreds of thousands of games available to download for mobile devices so how did a celebrity with no gaming experience or knowledge, get the opportunity to develop their own game?

Kim Kardashian Hollywood (KKH) is developed by Glu Mobile, who claims to be “The Leader in 3D Freemium Mobile Gaming” (Glu, 2020). Their purpose is to deliver fun mobile games and game experiences and I believe they have certainly hit the mark on with KKH. The CEO of glue, Niccolo de Masi approached KK in late 2013 with the aim to “reuse engines but could add popular appeal” (Tweedie 2014) and KK fit their ideas. So in 2014 KKH was released and did better than either party had expected.

My analytical framework examines the KKH game from a financial and marketing perspective. In the first year since the game’s initial launch, over $71.8 million was made from in-app purchases alone as the game is a freemium game, meaning it is a free to download game and generated over 40 million downloads. Financially, this game has made millions and continues to do so as there is no “end” to the game so although the aim of the game is to become an A list celebrity and gain followers, there is no limit to how many followers you can accumulate as continuous updates allow for players to continue to grow their following.

Looking at the game from a marketing perspective, it was simple but genius. With the rise of Instagram and Twitter, KK was able to not only announce but also continue to promote (and still does) her game from just her social media platforms. The game targets females “emphasising the importance of cultivating a unique individual style for dissemination across networked media (Soehendar & Widjayanti 2020). Using the power of social media and targeting her female followers made this game one of the top games in 2015!

Kim Kardashian, Twitter 2014
Kin Kardashian Instagram, 2021

As I continue to develop my research, I seem to enjoy the process more and more and cannot wait to continue my DA. From my research thus far, I feel as though this game has done everything right to make it as popular as it has become.

References

Company | Glu 2020, Glu, viewed 29 September 2021, <https://www.glu.com/company/&gt;.

Tweedie, S 2014, The Mastermind Behind Kim Kardashian’s Insanely-Popular App Explains How The Hit Game Was Created, Business Insider Australia, viewed 29 September 2021, <https://www.businessinsider.com.au/kim-kardashian-hollywood-game-history-2014-8&gt;.

Soehendar, P, T & Widjayanti, P, E, 2020, THE MANIFESTATION OF KIM KARDASHIAN’S AESTHETIC AND GLAMOUR LABORS IN KIM KARDASHIAN: HOLLYWOOD MOBILE GAME, undefined, viewed 29 September 2021, <https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/THE-MANIFESTATION-OF-KIM-KARDASHIAN%E2%80%99S-AESTHETIC-AND-Soehendar-Widjayanti/160fcfc628619f7f85c87aa4958a07ad458a9424&gt;.