‘Angry Birds’ creator adds Futuremark Game Studio’s team to fleet of talent


A visitor tests the Angry Birds games application on a Research In Motion Blackberry Playbook tablet device. (Chris Ratcliffe/BLOOMBERG)
March 27, 2012

“Angry Birds” creator Rovio announced Tuesday that it has bought game developer Futuremark Games Studio. The Verge reports:

Fresh off the impressive debut of Angry Birds Space, which saw ten million downloads in its first three days after release, Rovio Entertainment today announced the acquisition of Futuremark Games Studio. Prior to the buyout, the studio had served as the gaming arm of benchmarking software company Futuremark and released a small number of titles across PC, iOS, Android, and Xbox Live Arcade. The move will add the Futuremark Games Studio team to Rovio's fleet of talent while allowing Futuremark to focus on its 3DMark benchmarking toolkit, a new version of which is due later this year. No financial terms of the deal have been disclosed, but we get the sense that Rovio can probably afford to throw some money around these days.

The news comes on the heels of another milestone for the Rovio family. The company’s “Angry Birds Space” game, which launched on Thursday, received 10 million downloads in three days, VentureBeat.com reports:

By getting 10 million downloads in three days, Angry Birds Space has vaulted the mobile game business into the stratosphere of [bona fide] 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.

Rovio’s newest game won’t be available on Microsoft’s Windows Phone though, Bloomberg reports:

The new “Angry Birds Space” edition of the world’s most popular mobile-phone game won’t appear on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone platform in a blow to handset maker Nokia Oyj.

“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,” Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer of the game’s maker, Rovio Entertainment Oy, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. Rovio, which yesterday started selling the game for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and handsets running Google Inc.’s Android platform, has no plans to release “Angry Birds Space” on Windows Phone, he said.

Nokia is betting on the Windows Phone operating system to revive its struggling smartphone business. The lack of “Angry Birds” may make it more difficult for the company, based in the same Espoo, Finland-based office park as Rovio, to attract gaming-oriented users and persuade developers that its platform is growing.

“This is a worrying development for Windows Phone because it suggests that Rovio does not have much confidence in its future,” Nomura analyst Richard Windsor said today in a report. “As the standard version is already number one on the Windows Phone app store, it gives a strong indication that no one else will expect to be making money writing for this platform either.”

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