UPDATE 14 APRIL 2014: Since teaming with Glee for their popular Band Stars smartphone app, developer Six Foot Kid has enjoyed a surge in sales. In the past two weeks they have recorded 560,000 additional downloads of their app. The Glee Pack 1 component is an in-app purchase of $AUD 4.99. The developer is expected to release an update later this week.
South Australian game developer Six Foot Kid’s debut iPhone game Band Stars has just reached the world’s most dedicated groupies, the Gleeks.
Gleek is an endearing term given to fans of the internationally successful television series Glee that now features in the mobile game.
Launched by Six Foot Kid in December 2013 after two years of development, Band Stars has had over a million downloads.
With their co-owner, publisher and Australia’s leading game development studio Halfbrick, Six Foot Kid took the popular game to the next level by incorporating Fox’s television series Glee.
"We were really excited about this opportunity from day one,” said Sam White, CEO of Six Foot Kid. "Glee and Band Stars were a great fit for each other and both Halfbrick and Fox were keen to make it happen."
Band Stars has some high profile backing. Their app is presented by Halfbrick, who made the hugely successful touch app, Fruit Ninja.
Band Stars allows players to create their own band, record their own music and overcome challenges to make it to the top of the charts. Covering all genres of music players has so far recorded over 25 million songs. Rolling out in two phases the Glee update to the game entitles players to choose certain characters from the show to join their band. They can record in the William McInley High School studio, hear from William Schuester himself and deck out their studio with Glee themed instruments.
The Fox series Glee is now in its fifth season and since its debut has been described as “a bona fide cultural phenomenon.” Glee accolades include three Golden Globe Awards, a Peabody Award, four Emmy Awards, two Grammy Award nominations, two platinum and five gold albums, more than 43 million songs and more than 13 million albums sold worldwide.
The Glee cast also holds the record for most singles to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart surpassing Elvis Presley, the Beatles and James Brown.
So when it came to marrying Glee and Band Stars there was plenty of research to draw on.
"We had a bit of Gleek knowledge in here originally to begin with,” said White. “And obviously we immersed ourselves in it while working on this which was fun, it's been really good fun actually.”
The format of the mobile game and a television series like Glee were a natural fit. However when Six Foot Kid began creating the game that was not their intention.
"It wasn't the original plan but it kind of became evident as we got to the later stage of development,” said White. “We’ve certainly been thinking about these kinds of co-branding opportunities and Halfbrick are in a good position to find them. And if it is a good fit for both parties we are all in favour of making it happen."
The game has a recognisable art style - one that FOX thought would fit well with the Glee brand.
Getting the mix right between the game, the brand and the invested parties is important and White implores that if those elements were not right the project would not exist. And Six Foot Kid’s business partner agrees.
In a statement Halfbricks’ Chief Marketing Officer Phil Larsen said: “(We are) committed to working with the best brands in entertainment and creating content that lives up to fan expectations. Glee is a phenomenon, and we couldn’t be happier to partner with Fox Digital Entertainment for the ultimate Glee-themed mobile music mash-up!”
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Halfbrick, as we've been big fans of their games for quite some time,” added Matt McMahon, Vice President, Mobile, Fox Digital Entertainment "When we saw and played Band Stars, we knew the game was a perfect fit for Glee — fun, creative and a new way to interact with your favorite characters from the show.”
Band Stars is available for free through the App Store and all new players who download it will find the Glee content already available.