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Who better to give advice on rocketing from anonymity to super stardom than Mrs. West? This quest for instant celeb status is the central theme of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, the mobile role-playing game from Glu Mobile and the reality princess herself.
Don't roll your eyes just yet: Fast Company points out that "the game is a Top 5 grossing title in Apple's App Store and some analysts predict it could boost game maker Glu's revenues north of $200 million." But it's not just Kim's promotional prowess that's responsible for the game's incredible success.
1. It's actually well-designed: In a Quora forum, designer James Liu gave the game mechanics a high rating, explaining that they "do not break emergence (game mechanics that change with player actions—allowing more complex situations to spring from a simple game setup)." For instance, "Because the player is able to choose which jobs they would like, it's a completely self-paced game. Jobs are time-based tasks that last for some period of time. While the job is active, the player spends energy performing tap-to-collect mechanics. What Hollywood does well is implement a sense of 'choice' for what jobs you want to take on. You're not stuck in a single screen 'collecting milk' or 'harvesting carrots.'"
2. Kardashian weighs in on game design and content: Simply slapping her name on the product may have resulted in sales, but the reality star goes the extra mile, giving her two cents in daily emails to Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo De Masi. "She's been deeply involved with every aspect of the game, from the look and feel to new items for sale and new locations to travel," says De Masi.
3. Glu Mobile has had years to tweak the game engine since its 2011 release: Before entering the branded partnership with Kim, the game maker was able to test and refine various features. "It's a special skillset—it's a narrative game but has RPG elements, so it's a magical, experiential game that really captures the zeitgeist of what it's like to live in her Hollywood."
4. Users can't get enough of Kim: "What makes it compelling is that her fans can interact with her world five or six times a day. They don't have to wait until the show is on TV, they can experience Kim's world whenever they want." Due to an abundance of content, very few players have even made it to the end.
5. Players pony up for extras to score bigger rewards: "While the game is free to play at a basic level, keep in mind, fans are spending plenty of real world dollars in Kim's Hollywood for extra energy, enhanced wardrobe choices, and a faster track to the A-list."
6. It taps into a culture of rabid self-promotion: Kardashian's 22.4 million Twitter followers and TV fans are enamored of the instant fame narrative. Now they get to experience it themselves. "To be a good Hollywood model, you need to tweet and do some self-promotion. Which means users can actually use their real Twitter/Facebook/etc. platforms as a way to promote themselves within the game." —Lauren Berger