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Kim Kardashian sets new trend in mobile gaming

Kim Kardashian
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Kim Kardashian, celebrity extraordinaire, is known for a lot of things: her fashion sense, her family, and her ample assets.

Interestingly, some technology observers credit her with something she's not often associated with: the competitive world of mobile gaming.

That's because her "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" game went viral almost immediately following its launch in June, and she may be pioneering a new trend.

According to gaming research firm Superdata, the app has generated roughly $51 million in revenue—a marginal slice of the more than $17 billion market for mobile games. Still, "Hollywood" debuted at the top of iTunes' free download chart, with some users finding it nearly as addictive as the infamous "Candy Crush."

Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app
Source: Kim Kardashian: Hollywood | Facebook

Word of Kardashian's mobile gaming success has spread quickly in Hollywood. As a result, there's now a long list of celebrities seeking to replicate her results, some say.

To Justin Waldron, one of the co-founders of mobile games giant Zynga, one of the most famous women in the world may be sparking a new movement of celebrities creating games of their own.

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"We went from a transition of licenses and brands and celebrities not being a major part of creating the content and now it's clear that's a huge part for mobile going forward," Waldron said this week on "Squawk Alley." "So that's a completely new development for the industry."

Whether other stars can replicate Kardashian's success, however, remains to be seen. Technology analyst Roger Kay told CNBC that a splash game can depend at least as much on the application's developer. A celebrity partnership is "not necessary, but it's very, very helpful," he said.

The gaming world is so crowded that developers really only have two options in hopes of seeing their app take off: either form a celebrity partnership, or figure out how the game could independently go viral, said Kay.

"I still would like to believe that quality would get out on its own," Kay said, who is also founder of Endpoint Technologies Associates, an independent technology market intelligence firm. "But I see too many really good things die in the weeds because they can't cut through the noise."

Celebrity partnerships are increasingly more important for mobile games to gain traction, said Waldron, especially as mobile gaming overtakes desktop gaming in popularity.

"I think what's changed is the scale has gotten so much bigger and the monetization is so much stronger on mobile that we can afford to create these, sort of, partnerships because there's enough revenue on mobile for something like this to work," Waldron said.

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Of course, it remains to be seen whether all celebrities will experience Kardashian's golden touch on gaming. A big part of the results of "Hollywood" is built into her personal brand and massive following, according to analysts. She currently boasts 25 million followers on Twitter and more than 20 million followers on Instagram.

"Once Kim Karsadian the name is imprinted in your brain that's all that matters," Kay said. "People all over the world know her just because they keep hearing it on the Internet, and if you can tie into something like that, you can take advantage of that multiplier effect."

A representative said Kardashian was unavailable for comment.