Original Angry Birds Could Return To Google Play (Or Might Just Vanish From iOS Too)

Developer Rovio recently removed the title from Google Play and renamed it on iOS due to its impact on the studio's "wider games portfolio."


The original Angry Birds could return to Google Play in the future, developer Rovio says in a new statement, but only if the studio's experiment of renaming the game on iOS is a success.

Rovio in February removed the title from Google Play and renamed it to Red's First Flight on iOS. At the time, Rovio said the decision was due to the classic game's "impact on our wider game portfolio," and in its statement, pointed disappointed fans towards other Angry Birds titles like Angry Birds 2, Angry Birds Friends, and Angry Birds Journey.

Fans have been critical of the move, with many taking Rovio's statement to mean that the popular $1 remake of the original (which was released last year due to popular demand, according to Rovio's CEO) was having a negative financial impact on the developer. Fans assumed that those who bought the remake of the original Angry Birds wouldn't spend time or money downloading and playing the various free-to-play, and microtransaction-filled, Angry Birds sequels, something that would ultimately hurt Rovio's bottom line.

That assumption is partially right. The choice to pull the game from Google Play and rename it on iOS was due more specifically to the original Angry Birds creating a search problem for the company's game portfolio, resulting in fewer downloads of all Angry Birds titles, Rovio says.

In a statement to Axios, Rovio says its decision has been misunderstood. Rovio says it first tried to rename Angry Birds on Google Play to improve the situation, but nothing seemed to help improve the download rate for other Angry Bird titles on the platform. That forced the team "to do something a little more drastic," and delist the game entirely, Rovio's head of Angry Birds strategy Ben Mattes says.

If Rovio's strategy of renaming Angry Birds on iOS pans out, the title could return to Google Play under the name Red's First Flight. However, if delisting the title proves to be more effective, it could also be removed from iOS, too.

Rovio says it currently isn't sure if the decision to remove and rename the game will fix the franchise's search results problem.

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