US firm Glu Mobile has signed a five-year licensing deal with the musician for a game that will feature her “voice, likeness and personality”, with a planned release towards the end of 2015 for iOS and Android devices.
It is likely to follow the template laid down by Kardashian’s title, which saw players trying to become celebrities in a game that was free to play, but made its money from in-app purchases of virtual currency to speed up their progress.
“Ultimately the Katy Perry title and its specificities will be under wraps until it comes out. But I think it’s fair to say that it’s not going to be a shooter,” Glu’s chief executive Niccolo de Masi told analysts shortly after announcing the Katy Perry deal.
“Something closer to a narrative-based RPG makes a lot of sense than an action-RPG for example,” he continued. There is, as yet, no news on the presence or absence of dancing sharks in the game.
Glu is hoping that Perry’s popularity on social media – including 77.1 million Facebook fans and 64.6 million Twitter followers – will be as powerful a launchpad for an official mobile game as Kardashian’s online fanbase was.
“We are going to do something that’s appropriate to tell her story as well as to make sure that we are not taking risk in this particular case on something that won’t monetise,” said Masi.
Kardashian’s game has certainly made money for Glu since its release in June 2014. According to the publisher’s financial results, the game made $74.3m of revenues by the end of the year, from a relatively small – in mobile game terms – 28.4m downloads.
Its success presents a new challenge for Glu, though. Even though Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was released halfway through the year, it still accounted for 31% of the company’s annual turnover – with the game’s $43.4m of revenues in the third quarter dropping to $29.3m in the fourth quarter.
That’s why Glu has been scouting around for other public figures to reduce its reliance on Kardashian. Besides Perry, it says other partnerships with celebrities will be announced in the first half of 2014.
The appeal for those celebrities is clear: a new source of income with relatively little personal effort beyond recording some voice narration, then promoting the games to their social media followers.
In July 2014, celebrity news site TMZ claimed that Kardashian’s deal with Glu involved a 45% share of the game’s net profits. However, its prediction that her game would gross $200m in 2014 alone has proved to be a vast overestimate.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 5th February 2015 09.58 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010