Over the past few years Deadline.com has taken Hollywood by storm, outpacing the competition with breaking news and the sardonic wit of its Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke -- a well-credentialed entertainment reporter who is both revered and feared by Hollywood insiders.
Finke’s new project? Turning her love of poking around the deep, dark recesses of Hollywood into a game. A Facebook game called Deadline Hollywood, to be exact. To start, you’ll pick a career path as an actor, screenwriter, producer, director, agent or studio executive, then you'll climb the fame ladder and try to make it to the top.
But -- here’s the interesting part -- instead of randomly clicking buttons to level up your wannabe superstar, you’ll make career decisions based on real-life Hollywood news. The more you know (as in, the more you read Deadline.com), the more likely you will be able to make smart in-game career decisions that will take you from a wannabe to a red carpet regular. Not a bad way to encourage people to read your website on a more regular basis.
Of course, the real star of the game is Finke, the well-connected and mysterious figure (so mysterious that Gawker.com once offered up a bounty of $1,000 for a single picture of her, which no one collected on). It’s unlikely that she’ll make an appearance in the game, but the snarky commentary that has made her famous will be an integral part of the experience.
The official press release for Deadline Hollywood has a bunch of canned quotes from Finke, but nothing explains her motivation for creating the game better than today’s Deadline.com blog post:
“Here's what happened: I got fed up with games purporting to be about Hollywood but not reflecting the real Hollywood. You know -- the nasty Hollywood. So I came up with my own authentic Deadline Hollywood Game which smart people then developed. … So let me say to any naysayers: Eff you. The game is cool. You'll be on my leaderboard soon:”
Whether people actually think the game is cool is TBD (Deadline Hollywood is expected to launch later this summer), but even if it bombs, this is still one of the more compelling attempts to use a game-like experience to enhance engagement for a news site. Google News, take note.