The story of how, in 2009, games developer Rovio turned a few sketches of wingless birds into the global phenomenon that is Angry Birds has become something of a legend in the gaming world. What started as a bid to save the struggling Finnish mobile games company by inventing an app for the hot new iPhone has evolved into one of the biggest brands in electronic entertainment worldwide — with no sign of running out of steam.
Angry Birds, in case it has passed you
by, is a game in which the player catapults the eponymous cross-eyed birds at a collection of egg-stealing pigs stationed
in a variety of flimsy structures, with the aim of destroying them. Apparently, it was initially inspired by swine flu.
However unlikely that might sound,
the game took off rapidly on iPhone, becoming the number one app in both
the UK and the US, and was moved on
to new platforms including Android
phones, PlayStation and, in February 2012, Facebook (where it garnered over 2 million daily users in less than a month).
What is particularly remarkable is how Rovio has extended the Angry Birds
brand in all directions: there are more than 20,000 licensed products for sale, from T-shirts to sweets, with a theme park promised in Finland.
Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's chief marketing officer (he prefers to be called Mighty Eagle), is on record as saying that it's only a matter of time until Angry Birds
is bigger than Mickey Mouse.
Already there has been a major tie-up with the animated movie Rio, with the release of an adapted game, Angry
Birds Rio. And the latest version of the game — Angry Birds Space — launched
in March, with the birds leaving Earth
in a project that reportedly involves collaboration with NASA, no less.
"We want to create a long-lasting, global brand," said Vesterbacka recently. "We don't think Angry Birds is going to go away anytime soon. It's not just a game."
Gaming by numbers:
was the worth
of the global
facebookers play Hidden chronicles every day
of women now play casual games
copies of call of duty: Black ops have been sold worldwide
is the number of
angry birds downloads
Read more: meet the major players behind online and mobile gaming.
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