Kim Kardashian claims to have received an $80 million payment related to Glu Mobile's Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game.
The prominent celebrity revealed the figure via Twitter, in a reference to the widely reported debts accrued by her husband, the musician Kanye West. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was a breakout hit for Glu Mobile, ultimately becoming the bedrock of a product strategy based on using celebrities and public figures to attract players.
sorry I'm late to the party guys I was busy cashing my 80 million video game check & transferring 53 million into our joint account ðŸ¤‘ðŸ¤‘ðŸ¤‘ðŸ’°ðŸ’°ðŸ’°— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 8, 2016
As you can see, Kardashian makes no mention of the period this payment covers, but analysis of Glu Mobile's calendar 2015 financial results suggests that it is not related to the game's quarterly or annual revenue. In a call with investors, Glu CFO Eric Ludwig said that Kim Kardashian: Hollywood earned $13.6 million in Q4, or 24 per cent of the company's total revenue for that period. Across the entire calendar year, the game earned $71.8 million, or 30 per cent of total revenue.
So, while Kim Kardashian: Hollywood's importance to Glu Mobile's business is undeniable, the amount of money it now brings into the company seems misaligned with the money just paid to Kardashian. Indeed, the game's earning power has declined significantly since the period following its full launch in 2014, when it generated $43.4 million in revenue in a single quarter (Q3). In the same quarter in 2015, its revenue had fallen to $18.8 million.
Ultimately, the legacy of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has been ambiguous. It remains a very successful mobile game, even if that success has been eroded in the 18 months since its launch, but Glu's plan to use other celebrities and licenses in the same manner faltered with games based on Katy Perry and James Bond. Glu announced the loss of 50 jobs and the decision to, "considerably slow the signing of additional celebrity partnerships," last month.
GamesIndustry.biz asked Glu for comment on the Kardashian payment but have not heard back.