LOS ANGELES >> Can mobile game maker Glu do it again?
After finding success with titles starring the Kardashians, the company is launching "Britney Spears: American Dream" this week. Spears' game casts players as a budding pop star who must amass a fan base in order to eventually duet with the "I'm a Slave 4 U" singer.
The game maintains the same cartoony look as "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," which launched in 2014 and reportedly earned $200 million last year. While these celebrity-focused titles are free to play, users can pay real money for a piece of Spears' and the Kardashians' virtual wardrobes.
"Britney Spears: American Dream" mostly involves players tapping touchscreens to change their avatar's outfits, design music covers, collect pets and perform at various venues — from the local Starbeans to Spears' stage at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
"Britney's demographic is a bit older, and we wanted to incorporate music more than the other games," said Glu President and CEO Niccolo de Masi.
Despite the triumph of "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood," San Francisco-based Glu hasn't matched that game's success. A spin-off starring the Jenner sisters fizzled on Apple's charts after "Kendall & Kylie" initially debuted at No. 1 in February. Katy Perry's game from Glu wasn't as sweet as the Kardashians' efforts. "Katy Perry Pop" never cracked the Top 100.
"A flop for Glu is probably still making more money than most apps out there," noted De Masi earlier this year during the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science's annual D.I.C.E. Summit. "On a bad day, we're 1,000 times better than the average app. On a good day, we're 10,000 times better."
Glu is currently working on titles starring Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. De Masi said his team is looking at how to differentiate such games from each other with new art styles and gameplay modes.