It's a question that's dogged artists, musicians, writers and celebrities for as long as there have been such people: Where do you go next once you've already conquered your field? After all, if someone has (just for example) managed to accrue seven Grammys, 11 Country music Awards, 22 Billboard Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, a Brit Award and an Emmy along with being an internationally-celebrated singer-songwriter with over 40 million albums sold and a record-setting spot on Forbes' "100 Most Powerful Women" ranking all before your 26th birthday... where do you go next?
Well, if you're Taylor Swift, the answer is apparently the world of mobile gaming. The singer has signed an exclusive deal to lend her likeness to a yet-unnamed title for mobile giant Glu.
Mobile gaming has seen a more rapid rate of growth than almost any new video game platform since the boom days of the original arcades, with thousands of titles both professionally and independently created spilling out onto various worldwide services every day. In that kind of environment, it takes something special to stand out; and mobile developer Glu has settled on a reliable and lucrative formula to make their games do just that: Celebrity endorsements.
Glu's roster of celebrity-themed games most famously includes the smash hit Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, but they've also partnered with Katy Perry, Nicky Minaj, Kendall & Kylie Jenner, Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and others for a diverse roster of titles designed to maximize the stars' brands through the profitable medium of casual gaming. But it's not just musicians and reality stars landing in Glu's stable: Action star Jason Statham signed on to feature in developer's popular action title Sniper X, lending not only his likeness but his voice to the military-themed precision shooter.
In the case of Taylor Swift, Glu seems particularly interested in the pop-superstar's massive imprint on social media. Said chairman and CEO Niccolo de Masi, announcing the partnership:
"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."
While there's no way of knowing what sort of game Glu might have planned, Swift's already-impressive body of work would certainly suggest multiple avenues of narrative and aesthetic approach: In a relatively short amount of time she's become a force in both country music and mainstream pop, has demonstrated a proficiency for both comedy and dramatic acting; though it's likely a safe assumption that the game will most likely be focused around her status as a musician and international celebrity. Said de Massi:
"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."
Though incredibly profitable in recent years, many traditional gamers continue to shake their heads at or outright dismiss the burgeoning casual mobile market, with Glu's celebrity-branded content often cited as prime examples of why the medium doesn't deserve to be taken as seriously as more conventional gaming platforms. On the other hand, entries like Kim Kardashian's have occasionally earned unexpected praise from some game critics for its interface and its relatively rare focus on a female audience. Given her status as a Millennial pop-icon, it's unlikely that a Taylor Swift title will be the entry that changes skeptics' minds on the matter; but it will undoubtedly be hard to ignore as a force in the involving market.
Glu's inaugural Taylor Swift game is likely in early development already. No launch date has currently been set.
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