OK. So you not only beat Angry Birds at the time but also helped to spread the game among your relatives, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, acquaintances of acquaintances and, eventually, absolutely unkonwn people you met in the most strange places. You may even meet people who uses sentences as “what’s your favorite bird?” or “need help to find the golden eggs?” as pick up lines. You managed to download from don’t-ask-where Angry Birds’ tune to set it as your ringtone and can recognize each version of the song and match it with a determinate episode or season. Given the rare case you are reading this but haven’t ever played Angry Birds, it’s for sure you at least know what are we talking about. And, if yours is one of those even rarer cases that you don’t know who the Angry Birds are, well, it’s fine. Click on the widget below so we can make it all up.
It’s common knowledge that Angry Birds was launched about to the end of 2009, this is, a month later then Android Zoom. Unbelievably, there was a time when neither AndroidZoom nor Angry Birds existed. What it might be not so well known is that Angry Birds wasn’t the first Rovio’s game. However, to explain that, we’d need to talk about Rovio first. First at all, Rovio is a Finnish company, founded by Finnish people. This is more important that it seems, because it’s one of the proofs that several years ago mobile gaming industry moved along its axis from US to Eastern Europe and, a little bit later, to South East Asia, though the latter is a story that pretty deserves another while. Anyway, before Angry Birds, Rovio worked mainly in conversing games from any platform to Nokia N-Gage system. Perhaps their most famous work was Burnout adaptation, but Rovio has hidden well its footsteps to remove all trace of its past. Even “King of the Cabbage World”, which was developed by Rovio’s founders and started it all back in 2003 and it’s told it was the first multiplayer game for mobile devices, isn’t featured anywhere Rovio’s homepage. In fact, their homepage is absolutely Angry Birds-centric, as you can easily check up anytime.
Rovio is also the name of a small Switzerland village populated by less than a thousand villagers, but it hasn’t anything to do with the Finnish company. Angry Birds costed about 100,000$ to be developed, not bad for a game based on Box2D, which is a free open source physics engine. It has collected more than 50 million dollars to date, becoming the paragon of any developer. Regarding AndroidZoom, although there aren’t any AndroidZoom awards, they inspired “Heirs to the feathered throne“, where we tried to pick up those games that potentially could overshadow Rovio’s regarding originality, gameplay and ability to surprise both users and market analysts . Before you ask, the 2nd edition of “Heirs…” will be next week or so.
Rovio, as soon as they were able to afford it, sponsored both F1 drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Heikki Kovalainen. Rovio strategy is much about sponsoring and let itself be sponsored. Although the best example could be NASA complicity with Space release ad; everybody remembers Angry Birds’ cameo in Fox’s film RIO, which launched Angry Birds RIO (there are who say it was the best of the three Angry Birds game) and opened the Pandora’s box of speculations about an upcoming Angry Birds film. These rumors fueled a bunch of parodies everywhere. One of them, shot by Rooster’s Team achieved the trifling sum of 15 million views (link). In addition, Rovio has been very clever introducing Angry Birds in what we can call a “traditionally hostile market” such as the Chinese.
The secret of Angry Birds isn’t hard to find. Characters, both birds and pigs, are as lovely as merchandiseable (more than 60,000 plushes sold), they are a jewel for any publicist (have a nice example here) and there are innumerable version of their unforgettable tune (we would recommend Youtube stars Pomplamoose version to start with). Rovio hasn’t let its fans down not even for a moment, and keeps an active presence in Twitter and Facebook. The strategy of rewarding follows and likes with extra levels helped to work the miracle of nearly 400,000 followers and, hold tight, more than 18 million likes. At the corporate communication level, they aren’t afraid of making everything more enjoyable based on squawks and chrrrips and ca-caws, putting themselves on a level with Google or any other modern company you can tell. Angry Birds games were born for mobile devices by people who knew the how-to of mobile gaming, settling the standard for casual gaming from then on. Angry Birds Season, though didn’t bring many innovations, proved that they didn’t rest on their laurels. Lastly, Space edition has been launched with the clear goal of milking the Birds till the end. And if they -Rovio staff- follows this path of improvement, there will be Birds for a looong while.
There’s a lot more stuff about Angry Birds around the Web, we’ve tried to select just a few. Don’t be shy and share your own Angry Birds trivia commenting this post or you will force us to write an other blog entry about this same topic with all the info we’ve left unused.
Peter Warrior, EiC AndroidZoom
he saw it coming and muttered about something called “Scorched Earth”