Update: Rovio Execs Give Conflicting Statements on Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone
March 23, 2012 9:46 AM
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The mobile game developer says it's too much work to technically support it
Rovio's hit mobile game Angry Birds has a new member of the family --
Angry Birds Space
-- and while Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating system get to offer the hot new game, the Windows Phone platform is left out.
Angry Birds is undoubtedly one of the most popular apps in the mobile realm. Rovio reported that the app
hit 500 million downloads
in late 2011, but its popularity doesn't stop there. Angry Birds merchandise such as plush toys and T-shirts were released, and as of fall 2011, one million plush toys and one million T-shirts were being sold monthly. The game even
reached into film deals
with 20th Century Fox and plans to open its first retail store in Helsinki. Some reports say the game will reach one billion cumulative downloads in the next few months.
With this kind of popularity, it's easy to see why makers of mobile handsets and platforms want the game to be featured on their devices. Rovio launched Angry Birds Space just yesterday, which is the latest addition to the Angry Birds family that was made in part with NASA in order to offer all new realistic space features within the game, and tech giants want a piece of what will likely be another knockout game. It offers new birds, new moves/tactics and a whole new space-like setting.
While iOS and Android-based phones were able to launch Angry Birds Space in their respective app stores starting yesterday, it was discovered that the Windows Phone platform would be left in the dark due to the fact that it's too much work for Rovio to support it.
"If you look at activations, Apple's iOS and Android are clearly bigger than any other platform," said Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer of Rovio. "We want to be on all screens, but we have to consider the cost of supplying to smaller platforms. With Windows Phone it's a lot of work to technically support it.
"We're the No. 1 app in the Windows Phone app store, but it's a big undertaking to support it, and you have to completely rewrite the application."
While this seems like potential trouble for Microsoft, it's an even harder blow to Nokia, which is attempting to revive itself by making smartphones for the Windows Phone platform. Without hot apps like Angry Birds Space, this could put the handset maker in a tough spot because it shows that big game developers like Rovio do not have much confidence in the viability of the platform.
Microsoft plans to expand Windows Phone into developing economies with cheaper smartphones, which is an area widely untouched by Apple or Google.
Rovio mentioned that it plans to release four
more Angry Birds games
by the end of 2012, and if its attitude toward the Windows Phone platform doesn't change, both Microsoft and Nokia could fall far behind in the mobile realm.
Updated @ 1:23pm
Now, Rovio's CEO is saying that Angry Birds is coming to Windows Phone
. "We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7," said Rovio CEO Mikael Hed. This statement directly contradicts that of Rovio's CMO. Perhaps a little better communication between the two should be in order...
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
3/23/2012 10:52:20 AM
Maybe MS will offer to facilitate Rovio's development after this coverage?
Rovio is talking about going public in the next couple of years so currently they have very strong incentive to maximize their contribution margin.
They'll meet their valuation goal only if investors are confident that the company's expenditures indicates solid decision making.
So it's not in their interest to support a platform that isn't showing the growth capable of driving significant near term ROI.
I think the decision might have been different if they were looking to stay private, because then it's a speculative investment that isn't at odds with external pressure.
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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