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App Chat: What's behind the popularity of Kim Kardashian's app?

My character interacting with Kim in
My character interacting with Kim in "Kim Kardashian's: Hollywood." It's all about the drama.
"Kim Kardashian's: Hollywood" from Glu Mobile

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Kim Kardashian’s app is huge.

"We believe that the 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' app has made close to $3.39 million dollars for Kim Kardashian," says Jeremi Karnell whose company PTT Research estimates App Revenue. "She has the potential to make up to $40 to 50 million this year alone based on the app's performance to date."

The app is the fifth highest grossing app on Apple’s store right now, right behind Pandora Music. The thing is, it's actually a free game to download, which means that it's making all of its money off of people spending real money in Kim's virtual universe.

"You can get clothing and you can buy it for cash," said Michael Pachter, a research analyst for Wedbush Securities. "Once they decide they're going to spend money, it's easy to spend $20-$40 dollars at a time, because you're just buying cash in the game and the item might only cost a dollar or two or three."

What he's saying is that people can take their real money and essentially buy virtual credits that let them buy things in the game, but why would you want to do that? Well, in the game you play a fresh off the bus, L.A. transplant, trying to make your way in Hollywood. You start off at the bottom of the social ladder, with your ultimate goal to become an A list celebrity like Kim Kardashian.

Whitney Jefferson, celebrity editor at Buzzfeed, has been playing it a ton.

"I’ve actually only spent $40 dollars on the game so far. I kind of justified it to myself as in saying I’m not going out to he bar tonight, $4.99 for all of these Kardashian stars, that’s basically a drink," she said. 

In the game, at first, no one wants to do business deals with you, but when you spend money on new clothes and beauty products people actually want to talk to you and your celebrity status goes up.

"The game kind of operates as the same way as her career… minus the sex tape of course," says Jefferson. "So, you start out, you’re on the E-list, you’re like walking to bars and people won’t talk to you because you’re too beneath them. And you do a commercial here and a photo shoot there and you just get more and more famous."

Along the way Kim gives you nice little golden nuggets of encouragement like, "You should come to this party with us, there will be a lot of amazing people there." If you show up at the party in a nice outfit, get your hair done, talk to the right people and spend a bit of hard earned cash, you're golden.

"I think my number one tip would be sell out immediately as soon as you can. I mean that’s kind of the point here. There are all of these questions about taste," said Jefferson. "Will you take your clothes off… if you don't you don't get this gig. It's like, just debase yourself for Hollywood and you’ll advance."

But the game's star power might fall in popularity over the next few months says Pachter, "It’s dropping in the most downloaded games and that means that it’s losing players as fast as its gaining them, and I think it’ll drop off the ratings next year some time." 

So, like plenty of things in Hollywood, it might not be at the top for very long.