Tags: Angry | Birds | Windows | Phone

‘Angry Birds’ Space Edition Skips Windows Phone in Blow to Nokia

Friday, 23 March 2012 10:01 AM

The new “Angry Birds Space” edition of the world’s most popular mobile-phone game won’t appear on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone because of slow demand, 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 has no plans to release “Angry Birds Space” on the Windows Phone platform, he said.

“Angry Birds” may reach a billion cumulative downloads in the next few months, boosted by the introduction of “Space,” and 2 billion by the end of the year, Vesterbacka said. That compares to just 50 million in late 2010, a year after its unveiling. Rovio started selling “Angry Birds Space” yesterday and expects to introduce four more Angry Birds games as well as a second game universe by the end of the year, Vesterbacka said.

Nokia makes smartphones running the Windows Phone operating system, and the lack of “Angry Birds” may make it more difficult for Nokia to attract gaming-oriented users, such as teenagers, as it attempts to reverse slumping sales. Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop is banking on Windows Phone devices to revive the company’s struggling smartphone business and will introduce them next in China, where “Angry Birds” took off last year.

“China has been our second-largest market, but it’s actually been the fastest-growing for quite a while, and it could well be that China becomes the biggest market this year,” Vesterbacka said.

Virtual Slingshot

Basic “Angry Birds” game play consists of using a virtual slingshot to fling birds at structures populated by green pigs. The game zoomed to the top of the chart in Apple Inc.’s online app store in 2010 before being rolled out for Android phones, desktop computers and e-readers. The Facebook version is approaching 20 million active users, Vesterbacka said.

The company also sold about 25 million plush toys last year and has started a book division with a cookbook and comics.

Closely held Rovio published 51 games for Nokia phones and other handsets before releasing “Angry Birds.” The game is on Nokia’s current smartphones and some lower-end models.

Considering the Cost

Rovio has more than 300 employees, based in the same Espoo, Finland, office park as Nokia and the local Microsoft office. The new version of “Angry Birds,” which takes place in space with planetary gravity interfering with the birds’ flight paths, is available for Windows personal computers as well as Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers.

“If you look at activations, Apple’s iOS and Android are clearly bigger than any other platform,” Vesterbacka said. “We want to be on all screens, but we have to consider the cost of supplying the smaller platforms. With Windows Phone it’s a lot of work to technically support it.”

Nokia’s Elop took over at the world’s largest mobile-phone maker in 2010. After a five-month asset review, he announced a turnaround strategy based on cooperation with Microsoft to build Windows Phone handsets, as well as investments to bring more smartphone capabilities to the Finnish company’s low-end phones. He has unveiled several Lumia Windows Phone handsets since October as sales of Nokia’s earlier Symbian smartphones plummeted.

© Copyright 2018 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Friday, 23 March 2012 10:01 AM
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