Mobile games are the latest marketing mode for the sports’ stars throughout the globe. RockLive’s mobile game, ‘Heads Up with Cristiano Ronaldo’, featuring the Portuguese soccer hero is already a hit in within a month in the iTunes App Store. According to the co-founders of RockLive, John and Sam Shahidi, since the launch of the game on December 4 the users have spent more than 225 million minutes playing it. The game had hit the top-spot last week in the app store’s sports game category.
Heads Up is only the latest in the list of RockLive’s arcade-style iOS games based on sports’ celebs. The company is leading to the development of a successful industry upbringing a twist in the way athletes market themselves through the mobile world.
RockLive launched Mad Chad in November 2010 based on the famous NFL player, Chad Ochocinco followed by Mike Tyson: Main Event, this March. Games featuring the NBA stars, Kevin Durant and Olympic champion, Usain Bolt are to be released in 2012.
John Shahidi remarks, “Because we did such a great job with Chad and Mike — and now that Cristiano’s game has had this great appeal — a lot of celebrities are saying, ‘I’ve done a great job with Twitter, but now what? Well, now they want mobile games.”
RockLive’s sports’ games do not stick to the original simulations like the other sports games. In Main Event, the game with more than two million users, players box the animated versions of the celebs like Tyson and DJ Pauly D. Similarly in Mad Chad, the game with over a million users, players use the cartoon version of Ochocinco to locate the lost pet pigeons. In Heads Up the cartoon of Ronaldo bounces colorful soccer balls off his head and scores points.
But Heads Up has proven to be a step forward for RockLive with its revenue to be more than that of Mad Chad and Main Event together already. The company also launched the game on the social platform permitting its users to compete with its Twitter and Facebook connections, create a gaming profile and also browse a public leader board. An API for 3rd party developers is planned to launch in the upcoming year. According to the Shahidis, around 30% of the time spent by the users on the app is dedicated to its social stuff.
The Shahidis first met Ochocino while he was an NFL teammate of two of their high school friends. They began with helping Ochocinco’s social media presence and soon came up with the Ochocinco iPhoen app. They continue with the same for over 10 sports personnel. They advanced to the mobile games with Mad Chad in an effort to create a stronger marketing product for the athletes.
John claims it to be crazy ever since.
The company is associated with the athletes closely while developing the games. Tyson helped in creating a few characters in Main Event. Similarly, Ronaldo asserted on including his pet, Golden Retriever in Heads Up. The quick popularity of RockLive games has allowed the Shahidi brothers to be choosy on whom they should work with.
“If someone isn’t interested in being closely involved in the process then we’re not interested in them, no matter who they are,” says John Shahidi.
The relationships have also helped RockLive to quit the traditional marketing strategies and promote products through the social media following of the stars. For example, with Heads Up Ronaldo’s star popularity on Facebook (with over 37 million likes) and on Twitter (with over 6 million followers) has been a blessing for the app with more than 50% of its users outside US.
And what works for the games of RockLive is good for the sports’ stars the games are based on.
“What we’re finding is athletes really want to get more eyeballs and build their followers online, because that’s where the world is going,” says John Shahidi. “Games are a new way for them to expand their reach worldwide.”