Location: From the virtual world, to your home and class rooms.
The Story: What started as a mobile app, for touch screens, Angry Birds, is now moving into wider markets. The ?birds? are laying their eggs all over the place, to hit the bigger screen, and expand their empire with toys and books.
The game?s developer, Rovio Entertainment Ltd. will be releasing the first of a series of cookbooks, named ?Bad Piggies Egg Recipes,? this month. The title refers to the conniving characters in the game that enrage a group of birds by stealing their eggs and are now being targeted by them. The book will include several fun recipes including egg-salad sandwich and egg sushi.
From the Kitchen to the Classroom:
In Finland, the education system embraces the application of play in learning and a strict approach to child rearing. Taking this into account, the Finland-based company will be also publishing educational books for children from the age of four to their teens.
Wibe Wagemans, a Rovio branding executive, spoke about how the books would be. He said that in one of them geometry lessons will be illustrated by launching a bird into the air, just like the game. He has been quoted saying, ?Right now it?s up to us with basic brand management, to keep the brand alive, keep it cool and delight our fans with new things.?
Angry Birds get Reel:
Going Big: The developer recently hired David Maisel, the former chairman of Marvel Studios, to advise it on its entertainment strategy. Maisel revealed one of the company?s future plans. He said that he is consulting directors and financing partners, and has approached potential writers on creating a feature film for ?Angry Birds?.
Before it could dive into the big screen, the game brought the big screen into its app, by using characters from the animated movie ?Rio?, from News Corp.?s 20th Century Fox.
Some skeptics say, of the company?s film plan, that the games features, which is mainly the monotonous launching of birds form a sling shot, can be appealing to gamers, but it provides little material for an entire story.
Jeff Gomez, the chief executive of Starlight Entertainment Inc. points out that movies such as ?The Pirates of the Caribbean? were based on a little more than? a theme park ride.
Several games have been made into movies. Examples include Doom, Resident Evil, Max Payne and Hitman. Some have flopped and some have made it big. This shouldn?t discourage ?Angry Birds? as the makers will have a lot of second-hand experience to learn from.
Short Films: In June Rovio hired a Finnish animation studio named Kombo to create short films for ?Angry Birds?.
Rovio started with creating plush toys of the characters of the game. It was from this venture, outside of the gaming world that the company was inspired to try its hand in other franchises and merchandise. The toys were a hit, and the company now sells up to a million furry birds and pigs in a month, which cost $13 and higher.
For the Toddlers:
And in addition to spreading their wings in all these directions, the brand is trying to grab, or be grabbed by the little paws of toddlers, baby products such as blankets and clothes, covered with characters from the game which are made by the company, SwaddleDesigns.
?Angry Bird? players seem to transcend age barriers. Mr. Maisel is quoted saying, ?The vast numbers, diversity and global reach of the installed base of people playing the games are bigger than anything I?ve seen in terms of branded intellectual property for a film?
The game was initially released as a game for Apple i-Phones toward the end of 2009. Now the game constantly tops the most downloaded list for not only the i-Phone, but also the iPad and smartphones that run Android, a Google Inc. operating system. In a month, there are about 120 million ?Angry Bird? game players online.
Now if you?ve ever felt your hands itch restlessly while waiting on the metro to reach the other end of Dubai, or for your next batch of cookies to be done in the oven, you?ll know why this game can be so addictive, and contagious.
The game won fans with play that was tailor-made for touch screens. It allows gamers to let out a bit of aggression in a subtle manner by launching birds form a slingshot-like mechanism and adjusting the tension and trajectory to inflict as much damage as one wishes to the pigs and their property.
The Financial Side
This year, Rovio raised &42 million from Accel Partners Ltd., a venture-capital firm known for investments in Facebook Inc.; and Atomico Ventures, a similar kind of company created by co-founder of Skype Ltd. Niklas Zennstrom. It is expected that Rovio?s revenue will rise to $100 million this year.
Recently Robio renamed itself from Rovio Entertainment to Rovio Mobile. Peter Vesterback, the creator of the infamous game, at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech Conference said that Rovio isn?t a games company, thus, justifying the change in their name. He went on to say, ?What we are building is a next-generation entertainment franchise?I think we’re the fastest growing consumer franchise ever. We’re working on new Angry Birds experiences and we’ll expose a bit more of the ‘Angry Birds’ story.
The game developers seem to be taking a confident flight, despite the recent lawsuit Rovio had to go through regarding patent infringement, filed by Lodsys at the end of May. But that?s business and with its many future targets Rovio must be wary to steer clear of controversy, although it seems almost inevitable in such a controversial environment.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Guardian