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Glu Mobile’s CEO Talks About The Value Of Celebrity Games

October 12, 2015 - Written By David Steele

Both the celebrity and mobile gaming markets are big business these days, and it was perhaps inevitable that at some point these two would be combined. One of the more successful celebrity titles in recent months is the “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” title, which has enjoyed more than thirty five million downloads around the world. The Kim Kardashian game was developed by Glu Mobile and their Chief Executive Officer, Niccolo De Masi, has today been speaking about the game developer’s celebrity-based gaming strategy onstage at the GamesBeat 2015 conference today. On the stage, Niccolo first spoke about when he approached Kim in 2013. He took her brand and applied it to the gaming model and mechanics created for previous games based around acquiring fame. However, Glu Mobile has added something to the game by updating it to keep it fresh with events in Kim’s life. This helps keep Kim’s fans interested in the title.

The work invested into the Kim Kardashian game may be causing a change within Glu Mobile. Previously, most titles from the developer were male-orientated, such as involving shooting and similar activities, but following the success of the Kim Kardashian title, Glu are working on a Katy Perry game, among others. Not that action types of games are forgotten – Niccolo alluded that Glu are working on an action title involving actor Jason Statham. However, Glu have discovered that games based around a person (a celebrity) draw more people in. Niccolo said that these titles have greater customer awareness and people prefer a title based around a real individual rather than a film or television show. There are other benefits too, including how celebrities have their own social media accounts and are able to easily and quickly promote the game. According to Glu, this form of marketing has been massively successful – but we don’t have to take his word for it, given the massive number of downloads the game has seen.

When asked about celebrities that Glu hasn’t yet signed, Niccolo mentioned names such as Taylor Swift and Vin Diesel. However, it is more sophisticated than signing the biggest A-list celebrities: instead, Niccolo wants to sign partners that wish to help build the game appropriately for their brand, because this is what drives customers to the title. The more engaging a particular celebrity is with their fans, the more successful the title is likely to be. It seems that we are to continue seeing celebrity games being launched in the coming months.