Tech

Kardashian mobile game to shut down after players spend millions

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A decade after Kim Kardashian launched her mobile video game – Kim Kardashian Hollywood, it has been announced the game is to shut down, leaving players, some of whom have spent thousands of dollars on the game, with nothing to show for their outlay.

The microtransaction-laden mobile app was initially ridiculed as nothing more than a publicity stunt, but within a  year of launch, it had rolled in a cool $160 million in revenue, with Kardashian estimated to have personally taken home some $45 million of that.

That was in 2016 and there are no later numbers, but they are obviously higher now with players spending a small fortune on the game’s K-stars virtual currency.

Players logging in last week discovered some of the game’s features had been locked and a notice from developers Glu stating the game was to be shuttered on 8th April this year.

For Kardashian’s part, she issued a statement to TMZ saying. “This journey has meant so much to me but I’ve realized that it’s time to focus that energy into other passions… I will be forever inspired by this community that we built together.”

The game itself was ranked 86th by Polygon in its 100 most important games of the decade – placing it higher than Resident Evil 7 and Super Mario Maker, writing. “This was a decade of mobile games unapologetically tailored toward young women.”  but neglecting to mention the incessant microtransactions you needed to make in order to have a modicum of success.

Culture website Vice spoke to long-time players of the game who all spent significant amounts on K-stars, which, after April 8th, will be nothing more than a memory.

An image stating the closure of Kim Kardashian Hollywood

Regrets 

Interviewing one player from Houston she said, “I never spent my own money on the game, but I would ask for K-stars as gifts from my husband for birthdays, anniversaries, and so on. I’m going to guesstimate it amounted to around $5,000 over time. To be honest, I have no regrets. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, so this is what brought me pleasure.

My only regret is that I spent a Christmas gift card from my husband on K-stars a few days before the announcement. I obviously wouldn’t have done that if I knew the game was ending!

There are plenty more stories like that and players will receive nothing back for their spend or loyalty beyond a cursory “thank you for your support.”

Glu Mobile describes itself as ‘The leader in 3D Freemium mobile gaming”. Freemium games offer the base version of the game for free and then players pay for extra features as they play.

In 2021 Glu Mobile was acquired by Electronic Arts in a move described as “creating a new global leader in mobile gaming.”

Featured image: Glu Mobile

Paul McNally

Paul has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision. He spent over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title. Has written gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the Daily Mirror. Former champion shoot ’em-up legend.

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