Q&A: The brains behind ‘Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’
This little game app is making big waves – “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” is the hottest game of the moment. With its #1 ranking in the iTunes app store and projected project earnings of $200 million, the app has sparked controversy in every area from its representation of vapid Hollywood culture to anger over needlessly aggressive fictional rival-character Willow Pape. Alas, Kim Kardashian didn’t single-handedly craft this game in the depths of her Bel Air mansion – it was developed by mobile game publisher Glu Mobile, Inc.. We talked to Christopher Locke, GM, of Glu Canada to find out more about the process.
Where did the idea for a Kim Kardashian game app come from?
“Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” was built on an existing Glu game, “Stardom: Hollywood.” The Stardom series had already proven successful and we believed that could be amplified through a partnership with Mrs. Kardashian West. The game was in development for six months before launch, and we’ve continued developing updates since then.
How closely was Kim herself involved in the game’s development?
Mrs. Kardashian West took great interest in the project and was involved in every step of the development process. In addition to in-game audio commentary, she hand-selected the outfits, accessories, hairstyles, and other in-game items. Her deep involvement continues as we roll out updates and new content for the game. The development team did a significant amount of research to assure dialogue was culturally relevant without being overt.
Did you expect that the game would become such a sensation?
As mentioned, “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” was built on an existing, and very successful Glu title. We knew the mechanics and gameplay would resonate with our target audience. Adding Kim Kardashian’s likeness, voice, creative influence and fan following, we were definitely hopeful about the outcome.
How would you respond to critiques that the game reflects a problematic Hollywood culture?
We’re not trying to make a social statement, we want to entertain and the reality is that a sanitized version of the Hollywood fantasy would be boring. The game currently has nearly 90,000 five-star reviews in the Apple App Store. Players are enjoying the game and we’re excited to continue providing them with a great experience.
What are the demographics of the people who play the game?
The game has a very broad appeal, but our core audiences are fans of celebrity culture and women 18 to 36.