At the end of June, the group launched BTS World – a mobile game which gives players the chance to head back in time and manage the band from the very beginning. The aim? Simply to control the group’s affairs and ultimately lead them to superstardom.
Considering the size of the band’s fanbase, it is perhaps not a huge surprise to hear that the app has proven to be a massive success. According to Variety, data suggests that the game, which features a host of photos and video clips, topped Apple’s App Store charts in 25 countries less than 24 hours after its launch.
It is undoubtedly a good time for BTS World to enter the world of mobile gaming as, according to research from Activision Blizzard Media and Newzoo, around 2.4 billion people across the world are expected to play mobile titles this year alone. With this in mind, a pop group management simulation is another interesting genre to add to the mix.
Not the first
However, perhaps the most intriguing element about BTS World is that it is just the latest – and probably most successful – example of a band launching its own mobile app to engage with fans.
A few different acts have considered this area in the past with likes of Calvin Harris and The XX embracing it in different ways and to varying degrees of success.
In more recent times though bands have tended to utilise apps as part of their live experience. For example, Metallica launched an app in 2017 to support their WorldWired tour, with the software featuring details about ticket availability as well as information on the setlist and photos from each date of the tour. In addition, U2’s eXPERIENCE app was created to offer up exclusive augmented reality sound and visuals during the band’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour, while Coldplay’s Hypnotised app was designed with the help of Brian Eno and was created to be used while the band played the song of the same name live.
Elsewhere, popular acts have licensed out their likenesses to gaming developers, either instead of their own dedicated app, or to complement it. Robin Hood Bingo, for instance, features a number of slot games alongside its products that take bingo mobile, with seminal rock band Guns ‘N’ Roses lending their iconography and names to a five-reel iGaming title.
All of this highlights that while BTS may well have a global hit on their hands with their game, musical acts are looking to leverage the possibilities of mobile apps in a range of different ways.
With technology constantly evolving, it will be fascinating to see what comes next in the world of official band apps and whether any new creations will ultimately have what it takes to become as huge as BTS World.