Too Legit to Quit: Why the Angry Birds Brand Catapulted to the Top
What was once a care-free way to spend a few spare minutes on a smartphone is about to become a full-blown, cross-market, multimedia sensation. At least, that’s what the execs at Rovio Mobile would very much love to see happen. The game development company (based in Finland, of all places) struck gold a little over a year ago when they introduced a unique strategy game called Angry Birds to iPhone users—at a bargain bin download price of just $0.99. Fast-forward to 2011, and it appears that everyone and their mother seems to know and love the game! In total, it’s sold over 50-million downloads since its release and its fan base continues to grow every day.
The angry birds' collective goal? Defeat the evil pigs by any means necessary!
For those unfamiliar with it, Angry Birds is best described as a cartoonish puzzle game in which the goal is simply to advance from level to level. To do so, the player must literally catapult a small number of flightless birds into a nearby congregation of evil pigs (yeah, pigs). It’s a simple task, except for one minor detail: the pigs happen to be exceedingly crafty. They fortify themselves behind structures that shield them from your airborne onslaught and, after a few levels, breaking through the fortifications starts to become a considerable challenge. It’s strange, simple, and appealing at the same time; a modest game for a casual spare minute of passive entertainment.
For a while, that was the extent of it. It provided mobile phone users with an interesting way to kill their time. But eventually, the levels ran out, and folks apparently weren’t ready to accept that that was the end of it. So, acknowledging the Birds’ popularity and taking note of the collective outcry for “more,” the developers started to release additional versions of it, most notably the Halloween- and Christmas-themed editions. THEN, they expanded platforms, making it available for iPad and Android-phone users. THEN, they made it available on home consoles and personal computers. THEN, they merchandised it, making stuffed-animal replicas of the titular birds available for online purchase. Basically, they went the whole nine yards—and then some. Now that’s how you properly advance a brand!
The game's popularity extends to tangible forms, like board games and even cakes.
But wait, there’s more to come! Realizing that there are vast amounts of untapped potential to mine from the phenomenon, Rovio has decided that fans should be able to enjoy their favorite irritable birds in more tangible ways—like, for example, in a board game. Yup, the Angry Birds will be coming soon to a family room near you! The good folks at Mattel debuted the board game iteration of the franchise at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announcing that it will be in stores this May, so be sure to inform the little ones.
And the projectile fun doesn’t end there, either—not by a long shot! Rovio’s CEO, Mikael Hed, has been quite outspoken about his multimedia ambitions for the company’s flagship product. According to a recent article, he revealed that part of the focus is “to work on broadcast content for Angry Birds.” It seems as though the Birds may catapult their way into an animated television series at some point, though the details of what the show’s storyline might entail are yet to be unveiled.
Also cryptic at the moment are the company’s reported plans for a film adaptation, other than speculation that Hed is opting for a visual style similar to that of the Wallace and Gromit series (in other words, claymation), but again, we’ll see if they can figure out what kind of story to apply first.
All in all, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the franchise, and Rovio is poised to keep moving forward. Whether the existing fans will continue to go along for the ride or whether a new crop of them will be emerge once the Angry Birds “branch” into ancillary markets is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be interesting to see these developments come to fruition.
What do you think? Do you think the Birds have what it takes to carry their success to TV and film?