“Changing your look and buying nice clothes can get you noticed by the media.”
Such was just one nugget of wisdom imparted to me by Kim Kardashian, my mentor and spiritual guide, in the iOS game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Like a Ryan Seacrest production (say, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which he helped create) tailor-made for prime time, the game is taking the mobile world by blingy storm–whether you’re a Kardashian acolyte or not.
In the game, you create a red-carpeted version of yourself charged with navigating the treacherous, backstabbing, and Twitter-addicted world of Los Angeles social climbing. You go on sexy dates, star in photo shoots, shop in Beverley Hills, take meetings with agents, and generally try to claw your way out of D-list celebrity land to the top of Hollywood’s food chain, where lunch dates at Bestia with your BFF, Mrs. Kardashian-West, await you.
Everyone, it seems, is playing it. One Jezebel writer purportedly spent close to $500 on in-app purchases–you can use your real credit card to accumulate “K” points and in-game dollars, which you can then spend on things like shoes, sunglasses, and trendy new haircuts. (Remember: Nice clothes get you noticed.)
And now, thanks to an illicit tweet seemingly linked to some social media manager’s phone, we know that someone at the Environmental Protection Agency’s water division was getting in on the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood action, too:
The EPA’s water account has somewhere in the ballpark of 50,000 Twitter followers, and the tweet quietly racked up a couple thousand retweets before it was deleted, causing the EPA to issue a mea culpa, of sorts:
To which I say: There’s no need to apologize, you guys! Like a Katy Perry chorus after a round of Fireball shots or reading the Divergent books on public transit, KK: Hollywood falls somewhere in the strange nexus of “so basic it hurts” and “so bad it’s good.” There’s nothing to be ashamed of here. And besides, isn’t it somehow comforting to know that huge bureaucracies are people, too?
Business-wise, the game is poised to make the Kardashian Klan and its developer, Glu Mobile, a boatload of money. The game has reached No. 1 in the App Store in four countries, according to App Annie, and is currently the most-downloaded game in the United States.
Douglas Creutz, an analyst with Cowen & Co., told Bloomberg that the title might even reach $200 million in annual revenue. Which, all told, is enough to buy 40,000 pairs of $5,000 Air Yeezys–good business by any metric. As Kanye West told GQ in a cover interview published this week: “In order to win at life, you need some Kim K skills, period.”