The only ASX-listed mobile game developer has scored a coup by signing socialite Paris Hilton up for her own game app.
Last year, the launch of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood lit up app stores and proved a surprisingly lucractive move, raking in $74 million in just over six months for the queen of self-PR.
The app is free to download, but generates huge revenue from in-game purchases as players try to buy their way up the ladder by emulating Kardashian’s style.
On the back of KK:H, maker San Francisco-based Glu Mobile became just the third game publisher to make the SV150 list of Silicon Valley’s largest technology companies. Only EA in 2012 and Zynga in 2013 had made the list previously.
Glu last month announced a similar partnership with pop star Katy Perry, who, with 66.1 million followers, is comfortably the most popular person on Twitter. Kardashian has 29.5 million and Hilton, well, 13.2 million isn’t a bad start for her new gaming partner, Animoca Brands.
Animoca Brands CEO Robby Yung says the former wild child of the early Noughties is still very much a relevant brand for the game app industry as “one of the world’s most recognized names”.
“I think that ‘star power’ in terms of brand recognition leading to app success is most easily measured in social media influence,” Yung told Business Insider.
“At least some of the success of Kim Kardashian’s app with Glu can be attributed to her very large social media following, and the marketing power that brings with it.
“With Paris’s eye for what’s hot in the latest trends, and our experience at making popular mobile games, we are confident that consumers around the world will be receptive to Paris Hilton mobile games and themes.”
The company has an agreement which allows it to license Hilton’s name and likeness, and use imagery and content from Paris Hilton Entertainment. Yung wouldn’t give out any details of how a Paris Hilton game would work in a similar manner to KK:H, where players follow Kardashian’s social-climbing lead, but he did say he expected it to make money in much the same way.
“The majority of mobile game industry revenue comes form in-app purchases, and our business is reflective of this,” he said.
It was formed just last year through the spin-off of the licensing and publishing portion of the app portfolio of Animoca (Appionics Holdings Ltd). It says its portfolio, which includes game licences over Garfield, Ultraman and Doraeman, is growing at “3-4 million downloads per month”.
In a recent presentation, the company forecast revenue of $6.9m (up 71%) and $9.4m (up 38%) in CY15 and CY16 respectively, in a market which it said was forecast to reach $40bn in annual spend by 2017, up from $25bn in CY14.
And if the Paris Hilton game proves as successful as it’s likely to be, Yung said there was always room for a male version of the genre. Currently the three most followed men on Twitter are Justin Bieber (61m), Barack Obama (55.8m) and Justin Timberlake (42.5m).
“Those men with the largest social media following would always make strong candidates to work with,” Yung said, “although I’m not sure if Barack Obama has the time for us.
“If Mr. Obama calls, we’d be delighted to work with him.”