WSJ writes about a new mobile game from CBS based on the popular show America?s Next Top Model, which is intended more to build a community and keep people watching the show than as a revenue earner (although it will still cost $5.99 to download from the networks site). Licensed games work well in certain situations?if the appeal of the license is on-going and if the game is designed specifically for the license. This fits both criteria...the game allows people to control avatars of two models on the show, one they like and one they don?t like. ?With a few clicks on the phone?s keypad, they can dress the virtual models, known as avatars, in a variety of outfits, apply their makeup, monitor their workout routines, and take them to the beach or a local caf?. They can also play tricks on the unfavored model, giving her a mustache or ugly glasses.? I don?t know, there?s something about that which strikes me as the top of a slippery slope?
?Next season, the game will even reflect the weekly goings on at the TV reality show.
For example, if a contestant is booted from the show, she will also be eliminated from the phone game, and players who chose her as their avatar will have to pick another contestant if they want to continue playing. If a model gets a haircut on the show, the avatar representing her will sport a new hair style as well.?
This will definitely keep fans interested in the show, and I suspect the avatar system is done fairly well since the game was developed by Artificial Life.
As the article notes: ?Players are, in effect, paying to watch advertising for the TV show. But Cyriac Roeding, the vice president for wireless at CBS?s Interactive unit, notes that the game also doubles as ?a good piece of entertainment for audiences who like the show.? He says the show and the game target a similar audience: mobile young women.? This is the way advertising will work on mobiles?make it interesting and interactive and people will pay to watch it. It?s also the right way to view mobile content?the game will most likely make a profit for CBS, even after sharing revenue with Artificial Life and the carriers (Sprint and Cingular), but the figure will be tiny compared to the budget of the show. More importantly is the way it maintains the users interest in the show.