Miracle Dojo Blog
CELEBRITY INSPIRED GAMES
WHY SHOULD BE SERIOUSLY CONSIDERED
Analyzing celebrity inspired games we can see that games that were successful are made through tight collaboration between celebrities and game creators. The virtual game world should fit their real life and make game design that isn’t generic.
In the following chapters we will analyze some games that were successful and some that flopped. Successful games can have great marketing and commercial success for celebrities, because of rapid growth of the mobile gaming industry.
To have a great game you need to have a great fit between game developers and celebrity, as well as their great collaboration and deep understanding of key success factors, with an aim to create the best possible and most addictive game which appeals to the celebrities fanbase.
ESTIMATED TIME TO READ: 12min
A rapid growth of a gaming industry creates a unique opportunity for celebrities to establish themselves in this new medium and grow their audience. Like any other growing industry the ones who catch the train earlier, will have more benefits in the long run. This type of games will become a standard medium for growing celebrity audience in the next couple of years, like the websites and social media.
Furthermore, the growth of the whole social media culture created a great number of influencers, who are very aware of the visibility power and social impact they have.
Hence, there is a need for merging the social power influencers have and gaming industry. As celebrities seek new revenue streams, and game developers seek the visibility due to market saturation.
CELEBRITY INSPIRED MOBILE GAMES – BREAKING A PREJUDICE
Following the mentioned, the market opportunity exists for celebrity inspired mobile games. Our aim with this article is to break a prejudice for creating celebrity inspired games. We are looking to deconstruct what makes some celebrity inspired games successful and some just flop.
WHY DO THEY FLOOP?
First of all, about the prejudice of celebrity inspired games goes a long way back, when most branded games for movies, TV shows, and other celebrities failed their fans. The main reason is that most of them have focused on the brand and celebrity, but less on the gameplay. Most gamers feel that game developers and publishers wanted to make easy money of the branded game, and just didn’t put enough creative effort to make an awesome game.
The brand itself or celebrity can not make the game fun. And that is the fact. That is the responsibility of the game developers by making the gameplay fun and addictive. The influencer or brand should make the game more appealing because of the familiarity, back story, and lore. The game design should focus on the gameplay which fits the celebrities as well.
WHAT MAKES THEM SUCCESSFUL?
Let’s take a look into the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game. The core gameplay is about becoming an A-list celebrity. Which perfectly fits the Kim Kardashian who is a synonym for that lifestyle.
Analysing further the life of Kardashians, we can see that she hangouts with celebrities, go shopping and goes out on dates. All those actions you are able to do in the game. The point of the game perfectly matches what Kim Kardashian does in her reality TV show. This makes the game appealing to the people who watch her show.
Also, she is not the main character in the game, her character is just the NPC (non-playable character) which helps you on your way to stardom. That means that the game allows you to fantasize about living the life like Kim.
We can see that branding in this game is done well and that celebrity fits with the gameworld perfectly. The game is point and click adventure where gameplay is to follow your story to the fame. You have instances in which you need to click more times to activate some action and then wait for the energy in order to get the best score, which can be perfect for people who want to come play a game for a couple of minutes, then return to it later.
The great feature in the game is that you can customize your character appearance including the clothes. You need to level up your character by playing the game in order to unlock the new clothes and accessories which keeps gamers playing.
When you round up all of this you could get the feeling why the game is so successful. If they didn’t have Kim Karadashian in the game, the game wouldn’t be as successful, because they would need to spend more money on player acquisition and they wouldn’t acquire all of her fans like they did here, but the game would still be fun to deliver to the same audience and probably be successful.
When looking at other successful games like two Pewdiepie games which are based on his humor, his fans, and his work. We can see that gameplay and gameworld fits with his character and you can see that the game was made as collaboration, which is always good in this type of games. The same pattern as the previous game is noticeable.
That is the key ingredient for making celebrity inspired games. We can see the same principles with branding and game design like in previous game so we won’t go further into the details.
Now, let’s look at the title which didn’t succeed so well. Shakira love rocks is a mobile game based on superstar singer Shakira. The game is match type of game with Shakira as the main character.
We tried to understand what are the key pillars of this game from both branding and game design sides. The game doesn’t feature any songs from her. The game only has her character which explains you how the game is played and some posts from her that have no connection to the story of the game.
We can see that branding of the game is not done in the contest to the star, it looks like they had done game and just put Shakira in it. When we look at the gameplay we can see that point of the game is to match the same colored squares. You have one new colored square that drops from the rope from the top of the screen and then you put it down to match with the same color. There isn’t anything new to the gameplay or some other feature which would different the game from the saturated niche.
Analyzing the game, one issue has been raised: What would happen if we exclude her character from the game – is that the only game’s competitive advantage approaching the market? We can see that the game would be other generic match game.
Actually, that is a crucial question, which explains why the game is not within the first group in this article.
WHAT SHOULD BE A MAIN FOCUS IN GAME DESIGN?
Celebrities world should be matched by the game world. Creating celebrity inspired games should have a strong background in game development and marketing expertise. There should be a close collaboration between celebrity and a game designer, in order to make their world and brand fit in the game.
A game designer should use his expertise and knowledge to create the game with the market potential. If this step is skipped, then the whole celebrity marketing potential will not help the game succeed.
The marketing side of the partnership should be just a support to the well-designed game.
There are situations when a celebrity has some unique trait or specific action that game can only be fun if he/she is in the game. In this situation, the game design should be focused on that traitor to revolve around that action. There can also be something specific that made him/her popular which can be used for the central point of the game.
Depending on the collaboration, celebrity and game developer partnership can be a massive success or gigantic flop.
HOW THE PROCESS OF CREATING CELEBRITY INSPIRED GAMES SHOULD LOOK LIKE?
Now, we would like to describe the approach of creating the celebrity inspired games we have in Miracle Dojo Inc.
Step 1: Initial contact, discussion of needs, desired self branding and deep understanding of potential players
Step 2: Detailed market research
We research all about celebrity’s industry, what are the trends, what fans and media like about the industry and all other things about the industry that can be relevant for the game.
We analyze the fanbase, classify gamers that could fit with fans into one desired target group.
We need to understand their needs, habits, type of communication
Step 3: Conceptual solution
From target group and industry analysis, we can get the idea for the concept of the game.
Then we research for the same genre games that are successful and deconstruct why they succeed
Then we create an initial concept solution based on the mentioned competitors research and giving the concept our creative solutions to appeal the target audience
Step 4: Iterative development
Core game loop creation
Technical development, game design and visual assets creation based on frequent weekly brief meetings with the partner to align the needs and development
The first playable version (MVP) evaluation
Internal testing on a target group, soft launch and pre launch preparation
Step 5: Market penetration cooperation
Usually, the initial visibility of a celebrity is not just enough. We cooperate in order to create the best marketing strategy, starting from marketing campaigns to the ASO marketing activities with an aim to be ready for the release.
The celebrity is very important, but the gameplay and game design should always be put on the first place. The gameplay is what makes gamers stay. They will stay if the game is fun, if not, celebrity’s appeal won’t be enough. The celebrity story and his world should be a bonus that keeps his fans engaged with the game and a source of inspiration for lore and art, but the focus should always be the gameplay and game design.
BENEFITS FOR CELEBRITIES FOR STEPPING INTO THE GAMING INDUSTRY:
Self branding and Marketing boost
Decades ago, celebrities maintained popularity appearing in TV shows. While this medium is still pretty popular, the internet gave us new media place, so just a few years ago a website was a must have for most celebrities. It is a time to go further…
Connecting to the core audience
If game is made right it can even further push celebrities to even more popularity, broadening and having a stronger connection with their audience.
Potential significant revenue stream
The mobile games industry is worth $70.3 Bn. Furthermore, the game industry is bigger than Music and Movie industry together
The optimal partnership for success
Merging the game developer’s know how and influencer’s visibility is a win-win option for both sides. This spreads the risk and increases the chances of achieving great revenues.
Follow the fastest growing industry
According to this statistical prediction by 2021, there will be 2.7Bn gamers worldwide. Access to that audience through games is golden with a great potential to grow the fanbase beyond existing one is crucial for any further popularity growth
And for the end…
People were crazy about video games from the very beginnings. There were people who created masterpiece video games 30 years ago, but what was the problem? Like all other tech branches, at the very beginning, it was very expensive to create a game from one side and to buy a platform to play it from another. The development of technology and the internet gave us global availability to games, especially in mobile gaming industry based on a Free To Play business model – without entrance barrier. At the time, video game creators started engaging celebrities as cover faces for games to promote them. Following the emergence of games into a global phenomenon, marketing experts spotted a huge potential in reverse model – creating games for celebrities.
But this is not just enough. To have a great game you need to have a great fit between game developers and celebrity, as well as their great collaboration and deep understanding of key success factors, with an aim to create the best possible and most addictive game which appeals to the celebrities fanbase.
This is the reason we stepped into the world of creating celebrity inspired game