Again, this is an in-depth topic so we need to make sure we have studied this product across media language, audience, industry and representation.
Kim Kardashian Hollywood: notes
The gameplay for Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is explained in detail in the app store or Google Play store:
Join KIM KARDASHIAN on a red carpet adventure in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood! Create your own aspiring celebrity and rise to fame and fortune!
CREATE YOUR OWN STAR and customize your look with hundreds of style options, including Kim Kardashian’s personal picks!
⋆ STAR in a huge interactive adventure as you encounter other celebs, dedicated fans, persistent paparazzi… and even hang out with Kim herself!
⋆ RULE THE RED CARPET as an A-list movie actor, cover model, fashion designer and more – what you do is up to you!
⋆ TAKE OVER L.A. in a virtual world complete with exclusive clubs, upscale boutiques, and luxury homes! Travel to New York City and Miami!
⋆ DATE AND DUMP CELEBS at the best parties and hottest clubs! Flirt and become the next huge celebrity power-couple!
⋆ BRING YOUR FRIENDS ALONG FOR THE RIDE using Game Center and Facebook – help each other rise to fame, compare styles, send gifts, and see who can be the biggest star!Game trailer:
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood - Narrative and objectives
The aim of Kim Kardashian Hollywood is to work your way up the celebrity scale from Z-List to A-List. As you play you will interact with a range of real and fictional characters in the United States and around many of the world’s most glamourous and famous locations. As you progress, there are collectibles and missions that will allow you to develop the status of your customisable character. Your ranking is determined by your position on the Top Stars list in Hollywood. They are sorted into six different lists, Unlisted being the lowest rank to the A-list being the highest rank. You rise up in ranks by gaining fans. The goal of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is to gain as many fans as possible by doing well on projects, getting attention from Starnews, and dating to get to the A-list.
Characters are NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) that appear in goals or locations and the storyline as you progress in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. These exclude NPCs you meet in the game that you can date or network with. These types of contacts are randomly generated according to each individual game.
The characters in Kim Kardashian Hollywood are a mixture of real VIP characters and fictional characters. There are 100s – you can see a few opposite.
In your pursuit of celebrity some of the fictional characters work with you and some actively try to ruin your journey by beating you to A-List.
There are a range of locations in the game that try to mirror the stereotype of the celebrity lifestyle of an A-lister:
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is incredibly popular. It has been downloaded over 50 million times and generated $200 million plus.
Why do audiences like it?
One way of understanding why audiences choose certain media texts is Blumler & Katz's Uses and Gratification Theory.
Uses and Gratification Theory states that audiences consume media products/texts for at least one of the following reasons:
- Diversion, escapism or entertainment – escaping from normal life.
- Personal relationships – fulfils their need for companionship. This is particularly true of social media products, online gaming and online communities. It can also apply to audiences developing an affection for certain stars or characters.
- Personal identity - seeing your own lifestyle, interests or ambitions reflected in a media product; reinforcing your own identity.
- Surveillance – using media to find out about the world around them.
Watch this video of Buzzfeed staff trying to play the game:
There are some key questions we need to consider regarding representation in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood:
- How are women represented?
- How is celebrity represented?
- How is race/ethnicity represented?
It has been criticised for offering a representation of women focusing on appearance, modelling and dating as a way to be successful. Similarly, celebrity is represented as something to aspire to even without an obvious talent or ability.
On a more positive note, the game has been praised for its representation of race, ethnicity and sexuality – with the game offering a diverse range of characters.
Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was developed by Glu Mobile, a highly successful mobile game developer and publisher. It was released in June 2014 and was marketed heavily using the Kim Kardashian brand.
With social media promotion, the game quickly shot to the top of download lists and iTunes app store charts.
The game design means that there is a great deal of media convergence. Media convergence is the merging of different media texts. How does Kim Kardashian Hollywood involve media convergence?
Watch this TV advert for the game:
Glu: monetising Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
The game is free to download but makes huge amounts of money from in-app purchases and subscriptions. Players need to buy energy to complete tasks (or wait 30 minutes for energy to replenish). They can also buy subscriptions:
- Gold: 49.99 USD / month (or local equivalent)
- Silver: 19.99 USD / month (or local equivalent)
- Bronze: 4.99 USD / month (or local equivalent)
Due to the addictive nature of the game and the potential to spend huge amounts of money on in-app purchases, the developers place warnings in the app store before purchase:
PLEASE NOTE: - This game is free to play, but you can choose to pay real money for some extra items, which will charge your iTunes account. You can disable in-app purchasing by adjusting your device settings. - This game is not intended for children. - Please buy carefully. - Advertising appears in this game. - This game may permit users to interact with one another (e.g., chat rooms, player to player chat, messaging) depending on the availability of these features. Linking to social networking sites are not intended for persons in violation of the applicable rules of such social networking sites.
Videogames case study 2 - Kim Kardashian: Hollywood blog tasks
Create a blogpost called 'Kim Kardashian Hollywood CSP case study' and complete all the following questions under the subheadings Language, Representation, Industries and Audience.
1) What is the objective when playing the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game?
2) What is an A-list celebrity? Why is it important in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?
3) What is the narrative or storyline of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood? Where is it set?
4) What characters can you play as? What characters appear in the game?
1) Who is the intended audience for the Kim Kardashian Hollywood game? Why do you think this?
3) Why is the game so addictive for audiences?
Read this article from Forbes on why the Kim Kardashian game is so successful. If the website is blocked in school, you can access the text of the article here.
4) Why does James Liu think Kim Kardashian: Hollywood is so successful?
5) What does James Liu suggest is the reason players keep coming back to the game?
1) What representations of women can be found in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?
2) What representations of race, ethnicity or sexuality can be found in the game?
3) How does the game both reinforce and subvert stereotypes in the media?
4) What does the game suggest regarding modern perceptions of celebrity and how to get famous?
1) How much does Kim Kardashian: Hollywood cost?
2) How does the game make money?
3) What subscriptions are available to Kim Kardashian: Hollywood?
4) How was Kim Kardashian: Hollywood marketed and promoted?
5) How does Kim Kardashian: Hollywood use media convergence to cross-promote the game and the Kardashian brand?
Grade 8/9 extension tasks: reading and response
Read this Independent article on the Kardashians and celebrity culture. Why does the academic Dr Meredith Jones think the Kardashians are important to study?
Read this Stylecaster article on 5 things we learned playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. How does the game encourage players so spend real money on in-app purchases?
Read this article on Glu Mobile, the game developer behind Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. What does the article say about targeting female gamers and using celebrity to sell the game?
Read this Guardian article on a Kardashian controversy regarding promoting products on Instagram. Why do some people regard Kardashian as a "toxic influence"?
Complete for homework: due date on Google Classroom.