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'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game could make $200 million a year

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Casual gaming plus the world's biggest reality TV star equals money, lots of money, for now...

Promotional image for 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' mobile game from Glu Mobile, Inc.
Promotional image for 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' mobile game from Glu Mobile, Inc.
Glu Mobile, Inc.

The hit mobile game of the summer has a familiar face behind it. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is an adventure game for iOS and Android that lets players create their own celebrity and interact with the titular reality show star, her friends, and her frenemies. Following its release on June 25th, the game has quickly risen to become the third most popular free app in Apple's App Store and is in the top 10 free games on Google Play. It's also received a nearly perfect overall rating in both stores.

And although the game is free to download, the company that created it, Glu Mobile Inc., stands to make a pretty penny thanks to all of the in-app purchases that players are making (one player reported spending nearly $500 within the app in just a few days). One analyst projects that the "freemium" game could make up to $200 million annually from advertising and in-app purchase revenue, as Bloomberg reported recently. Glu Mobile's stock has also been on a tear since the release of the game.

Aside from underscoring just how lucrative and popular freemium gaming has become among mobile software developers in recent months, the move shows that casual gamers are responsive to tie-ins with existing cultural icons and brands. That could be good news for Glu Mobile, which also makes a mobile game tied to the upcoming Hercules movie starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But other analysts surveyed by Bloomberg are more cautious, pointing out the mobile gaming market is full of hit titles that quickly lost their luster — FarmVilleDraw Something, and Candy Crush come to mind. Whether Kim Kardashian: Hollywood joins their ranks or whether it proves as enduringly popular as its inspiration herself is yet to be seen, but for now, the game is keeping up with the best of them.