Glu struck it big overnight with the runaway success of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and they arrogantly decided that they would only target individuals with 100 million followers or more to capitalize on the popularity of the celebrity. However, things backfired pretty badly with their Katy Perry and James Bond apps, both of which failed to take off the way they wanted. The result was a decline in profits throughout 2015.
Games Industry has been keeping track of Glu’s progress and advancements through the mobile gaming space and the company seemed like they were on track to becoming the next King… until they ran into some major setbacks with a couple of mobile titles.
They note that Katy Perry: Pop failed big time. Why? Well, they make some nebulous points about a “newly hired team” and that there were poor “technical decisions” that compounded the matter further. All of their key metrics were supposedly below the expected margins. In other words, people didn’t care about the game and people who did care about the game didn’t play for long.
Katy Perry: Pop was another one of those gross cash-in games based on a popular name and offering little else in return. It was essentially a copycat of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
The results were absolutely abysmal. Paying top dollar for licensing and churning out a cheaply made game may have work with Kim Kardashian but it didn’t turn out so well for Katy Perry. The game helped contribute to a $3 million dollar loss for the last quarter of the previous fiscal year, down from a $1.4 million dollar profit in the previous year.
Revenue in the fourth quarter was also down to $61 million compared to $72.9 million the year before, as reported by Games Industry. That 16% drop in revenue wasn’t all Katy Perry’s fault, though.
Another large piece of the blame was put on the poorly handled James Bond game called James Bond: World of Espionage. You can see the trailer for the mostly nothingness gameplay of the app below.
Uploaded by Glu on 2015-09-30.
Glu’s CEO, Niccolo de Masi, blamed the lack of classic shooter mechanics as the reason for poor installation numbers and low retention amongst those who did both to install the game, with Yahoo‘s transcription reading…
“With James Bond: World of Espionage, while monetization metrics were sound, retention and installs were weak. We believe the prime culprit to be creative decisions made in partnership with the licensors to avoid firearms and classic shooter mechanics.”
The poor performance of those two mega-brands resulted in enough losses in revenue that Glu had to cut 50 jobs across their operation.
However, this is only a minor setback for them. They’re already looking to cash in on a Taylor Swift game. The pop-singer signed on with Glu to have them make a game based on her not unlike Katy Perry: Pop and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood.
Adweek noted that de Masi commented about the new Taylor Swift game, saying in the press release…
“Bringing with her over 227 million social followers, I am thrilled to welcome Taylor Swift, an award-winning singer, musician and songwriter, to Glu’s family. We realize that Taylor and her global fan base expect a new and highly differentiated mobile gaming experience.
“Glu is equally committed to designing never before seen gameplay elements that utilize Taylor’s unique creativity. Accordingly, we will spend the required development time to ensure this innovation is achieved.”
If the Taylor Swift game tanks, I wonder who they’ll blame next? Catering, perhaps? “Those carrot sticks make the bean counters misprint the profit margins!” is what we’ll be reading in the next fiscal report.
Anyway, Glu has a Sniper X With Jason Stathom app that launched for mobile devices as well. It’s a first-person shooter. It just came out back in October of 2015 so it may miss the blame game until the next quarterly report.
Uploaded by Glu on 2015-10-22.
Glu still has a bunch of other games with celebrities in tow, including Britney Spears, Nicki Minaj, and Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
The cash-in vibe sends chills down my spine.
Back in early October Games Industry reported on Glu’s methodology and philosophy for their business (this is before their profits and revenue tanked on piss-poor, cash-in mobile titles) where de Masi explained…
“Believe it or not we’re increasingly capacity constrained, we can’t build as many games as we have inbound interest for and so we’re very very choosy,”
“I get emails daily from someone who has five million, ten million, 30 million followers, we’re not going to build a game for someone with ten million followers. 100 [million] is kind of the line now.”
Well, it looks like de Masi gets to eat some humble pie and fumble through playing the broken and technically deficient Katy Perry: Pop, all while trying to figure out which 100 million-follower celebrity they should make a game of next.