Mobile gaming is a huge and growing industry, with spending up 18% to $40.6bn in 2016 according to research firm SuperData – a figure that matched global box-office revenues for films that year.
Mobile games based on musicians, however, are… less lucrative. Publisher Glu Mobile had flops with its games based on Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj and Britney Spears, and ditched plans for a Taylor Swift game in favour of an app focused more on social features. Other single-artist games, such as that for Iron Maiden, haven’t troubled the upper reaches of the app-store charts either.
The obvious conclusion: the music industry might be better exploring partnerships with the mobile games that are popular and lucrative, rather than trying to build their own. Maiden put their mascot Eddie in Angry Birds Evolution last month, while Sabaton kicked off a long-term collaboration with World of Tanks in June. Now someone *almost* as metal is joining the trend: Shania Twain.
Universal Music Group’s in-house brand partnerships division has brokered a partnership with mobile games firm Supersolid, which will see Twain’s new album ‘Now’ promoted within its Home Street game. It’s basically The Sims with more decorating: a genre that’s currently popular on the app stores.
Shania will be an in-game character; two videos from ‘Now’ will play on a billboard within Home Street; players will be able to buy a branded guitar and outfit for their characters; and there’ll be an in-game Q&A with the artist herself.
Home Street isn’t a mobile gaming goliath yet: it was released on 12 October and has so far been downloaded 4m times across iOS and Android. It’s currently outside the top 200 grossing games on the US App Store too, having peaked at 13th place shortly after release.
There’s thus an argument that Shania Twain may be bringing Home Street as much value as it’s bringing her, depending on the details of the deal between UMG and Supersolid.