Angry Birds is not a fad, dev says
Rovio exec Peter Vesterbacka says focus on branding outside of gaming has allowed the franchise to explode in prominence and popularity.
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Angry Birds won't fade away anytime soon, thanks in part to creator Rovio employing a Disney-like strategy for the preservation and acceleration of the global brand, Rovio chief marketing officer Peter Vesterbacka said during the Pocket Gamer Connects conference in London this week.
As reported by Mobile Entertainment, Vesterbacka said the game has now seen 2 billion downloads and has 200 million people (the size of Twitter) playing every month, though he acknowledged that "download figures tell you nothing about engagement."
Vesterbacka also took a tongue-in-cheek jab at competitor Candy Crush, saying the game's half-a-billion downloads is a "good start."
Recalling the origins of Angry Birds, Vesterbacka said Rovio created 51 games before arriving at the bird-flinging strategy title that he says is known to 90 percent of Americans today. Part of the reason the game has been so successful comes down to the branding efforts Rovio has undertaken for Angry Birds, he said.
"If you're serious about games you need to be serious about marketing and branding," he said. "We're not building Angry birds for a hundred days but for a hundred years."
Angry Birds began as a simple video game but has blossomed into a worldwide media behemoth that spans TV, physical products, and a movie in 2016. Vesterbacka said Rovio joins esteemed entertainment companies like Nintendo and Disney in this regard.
"Mario is a great role model for anyone in games, it's been built for almost 30 years now. Hello Kitty is 40 this year and Mickey Mouse was launched in 1928 as a black and white cartoon and that company is now building theme parks based on the character on every continent," he said. "We launched an iPhone game in 2009 and now 45 percent of our business comes from physical products, including drink--we're giving Coke a run for their money."
"Our friends at Disney are still a bit ahead but our trajectory looks good," he added. "We're just getting started."
The most recent entry in the Angry Birds series is Angry Birds Go!, a Mario Kart-style racing game available now for iOS and Android devices.