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Iconic Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile game shutting down after a decade

Well played, Willow Pape

A photograph of a phone with the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile store page pulled up. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, the celebrity’s hit mobile game from Glu Mobile, is shutting down in April, just short of its 10-year anniversary in June. Booting up the free-to-play mobile game now yields a notice announcing that in-app purchases have been turned off in advance of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’s April 8 shut-off date. A Glu Mobile representative on the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood forum confirmed the game’s been removed from app stores, but it’s still playable until April 8 for people who already have it downloaded.

Kim Kardashian told TMZ that she’s “forever inspired” by the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood community. “I’m so grateful from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has loved and played Kim Kardashian: Hollywood in the past 10 years. This journey has meant so much to me but I’ve realized that it’s time to focus that energy into other passions. I want to thank the Glu team and the many people behind the scenes who have worked diligently on making it a success.”

Here’s Glu Mobile’s statement:

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some news with you all. We’ve made the decision to sunset Kim Kardashian: Hollywood — starting today, the game will no longer offer in-app purchases, and it will also be removed from all app stores and will no longer be available for download. Players who already have the game installed on their devices can continue to play Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and use any existing in-game virtual currency until April 8, 2024. After April 8, 2024, the game will become inaccessible for all players.

Thank you for your support of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. You’ll always be on our A-List!

NOTE for people who have VIP subscriptions: You must manually go and cancel your subscription! Please check how to do this for your platform. We are unable to cancel subscriptions on behalf of players, so please cancel your subscription if you have one!

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood was released as a free mobile game on June 24, 2014. Kardashian wasn’t necessarily the star of the game; the protagonist was a player-created character. Over the course of the game, Kardashian would help the player’s character become an A-list celebrity, as they’d be starting all the way down on the E-list (yikes!). The player character could book acting and modeling jobs, go on dates, and make public appearances. Fashion and unlocking outfits played a huge part in the game, too. Like other free-to-play games, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood had its own in-game currency, K-Stars, which were used to buy clothes and accessories, as well as speed up wait times between actions. Basically, it was a game about Kardashian becoming your mentor in a campy, casual game that played off the allure of fame and drama.

Former Glu Mobile CEO Niccolo De Masi told the Wall Street Journal in 2014 that Kardashian was pretty involved in development and approved all the clothes in the game. “She and I probably exchanged three emails a day and chat weekly. She’s approved every item of clothing [used in the game], we discuss features, we discuss events, updates, etcetera,” De Masi said. “She’s reviewed all the [production] milestones, from alpha to beta, final gold master. It was something she caught on quite quickly — the power of her brand and social following would probably be a really good fit with this type of game.”

kim kardashian: hollywood Image: Glu Mobile

Initially, some critics balked at the idea of a Kim Kardashian video game. But Kim Kardashian: Hollywood became a smash hit in 2014, where it brought in $1.6 million in revenue in five days. It quickly topped mobile game charts, and as of 2016, it reportedly had made $156 million in sales — and it continued to bring in millions in the years that followed. To put that in context, its earnings in a single quarter in 2014 totaled the earnings for more than 10 Glu Mobile games combined.

Sure, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood wasn’t revolutionary with regard to its gameplay model, but it was one of those wildly successful games that centered — and was marketed towards — women. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood wasn’t the first game to tap into the female market for video games, but its success brought that market to the forefront of the conversation, letting players take on a different role than the white male protagonist typical to popular video games of the 2010s. Kim Kardashian: Hollywood made Polygon’s list of games that defined the past decade: “More importantly, it paved the way for a whole genre of games that didn’t exist for easy consumption before this decade,” wrote entertainment reporter Petrana Radulovic. Beyond that, it was just a satisfying mobile game.

That’s why Kim Kardashian: Hollywood has maintained a dedicated player base for all these years, a group that foresaw the shutdown in late 2023 when Glu Mobile didn’t announce a new season. Heck, a day before the announcement, a player started a petition to revive the game. The Kim Kardashian: Hollywood Reddit page is bereft, and it makes sense: This is a game that people have played and invested in for a decade. There are still several months left before the game officially shuts down — so plenty of time to plan an outfit to wear to the game’s funeral, like some players are already doing.

Glu Mobile tried the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood formula with a bunch of other celebrities, including Kardashian siblings Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Gordon Ramsay, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift. (Taylor Swift’s game, The Swift Life, shut down in 2019.) Polygon has reached out to Electronic Arts, which acquired Glu Mobile in 2021 to capitalize on its mobile game success, for more information.

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