The Kim Kardashian West brand is a seemingly unstoppable money-making machine. The reality TV star, who rose to fame with the show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, has jumped from enterprise to enterprise, making millions off fashion, perfume and beauty products. Not only that, but Kardashian West has made a huge chunk from endorsement deals.
Kim Kardashian West has given her name and reputation to a huge variety of brands, from clothing lines to liqueurs and diet products, and even raked in an incredible $18 million in licensing deals from her wedding to second husband Kris Humphries. However, it looks as though one of her most recent ventures is set to make that — and her yearly earnings of $28 million — pale in comparison.
According to TMZ, Kardashian West will earn a whopping $85 million from mobile game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood — and that’s just this year. The game, a free-to-play iOS and Android title that lets players try to make their way to the top of the world of celebrity — and pay through microtransactions for the privilege — is expected to make $200 million this year, and Kardashian West will get 45% of the net profits.
The game was created by Glu Mobile, a developer that has made early Call of Duty mobile ports, Transformers mobile titles and a mobile version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Glu Mobile can be very happy with the performance of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood — even though $85 million will go to the star attraction. After all, Glu Mobile’s shares are up 42% since the game’s June 25 release. The title has over 40,000 five-star reviews on Apple’s App store, and it’s jumped as high as second in Apple’s free-to-play charts.
But where exactly is that $200 million coming from? Apparently the freemium model of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is working better than that of Dungeon Keeper, with that huge projection expected from both in-game advertisements and purchasable items. Kardashian West herself gives players in-game advice over how to act and what to buy, often with nods to her own life. “Dating another celebrity will make you more famous,” says her in-game counterpart.
It’s not the first time that mobile games have been tied to external franchises. Recently, Syfy Vice-President Jeff Li announced that there would be an endless runner tie-in to the Sharknado sequel — again on a free-to-play basis. The market is also full of movie tie-ins — in fact, Glu Mobile, the creator of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, is also responsible for the Robocop and Hercules mobile titles.
However, the mobile tie-in is hardly an excuse to print money any more. According to a study in April of this year, only 2.2% of free-to-play users actually pay for content. Not only that, but mobile titles often see an extreme drop-off in sales and earnings. Even the Zynga, creator of Farmville, has struggled with diminishing returns. It remains to be seen whether Glu Mobile will be able to buck this trend.
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is out now for iOS and Android.