Angry Birds Space introduces the age of the mobile game blockbuster

March 27, 2012

By getting 10 million downloads in three days, Angry Birds Space has vaulted the mobile game business into the stratosphere of bonified entertainment blockbusters.

It’s hard to calculate how much money the game has generated because prices range from 99 cents for Angry Birds Space on iOS to $6 on Windows PCs. At $10 million at a minimum, that puts Rovio in a different league among mobile game publishers.

Still, the mobile game industry is still young and its revenues are still much smaller when viewed against the backdrop of other entertainment hits. If it were a movie’s opening weekend, the $10 million take wouldn’t be so impressive, as Hollywood’s The Hunger Games proved over the weekend with box office receipts of $155 million.

And in its first 24 hours, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 generated $400 million in its first 24 hours of sales on the PC and consoles in November.

But looked at from the sheer number of users, Rovio’s 10 million customers is impressive. The Modern Warfare 3 user count was just 6.5 million people making purchases in the first 24 hours. All told, Rovio has reached far more users across the globe, with more than 700 million downloads of the whole Angry Birds series since December 2010.

“That’s a pretty significant achievement that has not happened on iOS or Android before,” said Matthaus Krzykowski at mobile search firm Xyologic and an occasional consultant for VentureBeat. “For comparison, it took a juggernaut like Pinterest more than one and a half months to get to such numbers.”

Rich Wong, a partner at Accel Partners, the venture capital firm that is a backer of Rovio, said that the spectacular Angry Birds Space launch is due to great execution and other factors, including the fact that there are far more smartphones and tablets in the market today than one or two years ago.

Rovio also leveraged third-party promoters such as T-Mobile, which created a 300-feet-long slingshot with a Red Bird on the Seattle Space Needle (pictured). It also leveraged Walmart, Samsung, and National Geographic for cross promotions and collaborated with NASA for publicity that raised the game’s visibility.

Rovio was able to debut Angry Birds Space on iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Android, the PC, the Mac, and the Barnes & Noble Nook eBook reader on day one. It is also working on versions for other platforms such as Windows Phone 7.

Andrej Nabergoj, chief executive of App-o-day mobile discovery site Iddiction, said, “Angry Birds Space is really polished game. It’s a textbook example on how to build on existing intellectual property. If the original Angry Birds was a surprising success, nothing was left to coincidence here. Deeper game play, gorgeous graphics, innovative physics, reinterpretation of the original music. But most importantly, as extremely well coordinated and innovative global marketing campaign involving the space station, installations, etc. Angry Birds Space repositions and re-establishes Rovio as one of the leading and most innovative mobile gaming companies.”

Copyright 2012, VentureBeat

Chris Ratcliffe

BLOOMBERG

A visitor tests the Angry Birds games application on a Research In Motion Blackberry Playbook tablet device.

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