Where Does the Magic Circle End in Britney Spears American Dream?

Earlier this year Britney Spears released her namesake videogame with Glu Mobile- the same developers of the wildly successful Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Britney Spears American Dream is the ultimate casual game: a free app available on the app store and Google play. In the game the player’s goal is to become an A-list pop star. The player completes tasks (dates, meetings, recordings, photo-shoots, etc.) to climb their way through the industry. In order to complete these tasks the player must use up units of energy, which replenish every few minutes in real time (a brilliant mechanic that keeps players constantly returning to the game multiple times per day.)

The game makers have employed other arguably brilliant techniques to earn money off of the game and reach out to new users. Players can buy energy, in game money and other rewards with real dollars. Players also earn in game prizes by sharing and promoting the game and the songs they’ve created in the game with others via social media. Linking the in game account with Twitter or Facebook accounts and sharing posts about the game gives players in game rewards and advances their rankings. Players’ real life friends can access and up-vote the songs created in game, boosting their ranking on the in-game charts. By reaching certain levels players can also unlock content relating to Britney Spears’ real life music and career.

Special promotion offered for reaching level 6: players get sneak peek of Spears’ upcoming music video

A similar game mechanic is used in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, where developers will make clothing items and events that occurred/ existed in real life unlockable in the game. Glu Mobile also released games with Nicki Minaj, Gordon Ramsey, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Katy Perry, all with very similar gameplay and merging of game and real world.

This style of game blends the game world with the real world, almost requiring players to participate in both at the same time. Just by having a main character that is a real person (Britney herself) American Dream is trying to entangle itself with the real world. So, if a player of American Dream sends out tweets and statuses about their gameplay, does the magic circle really end once they quit the game app? Their posts on social media continue to exist for the purpose of drawing likes and in game advancement, leaving them in a constant state of play.

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