Angry Birds Fly Next to Facebook

Although Angry Birds got its start on the iPhone, it didn't linger there for long. The hit bird-slinging puzzle game has since migrated to Android, iPad, WebOS, Windows, Mac, and the Playstation Network.

Next up is Facebook, where Angry Birds will be landing later this year, according to Develop. And because of the game's existing popularity -- it's been downloaded 75 million times on other platforms, and some pundits have compared its cultural impact to Pac-Man -- Angry Birds has a decent shot at stealing the Facebook gaming throne from Zynga, developer of Farmville, Cityville, and Mafia Wars.

Doing so won't be easy. Zynga's games endure, at least in part, because they turn gaming into a routine. As fun as tending to a virtual crop may be, it's also an obligation. The social aspect of Zynga's games -- Cityville players, for instance, can gain experience by performing work in their friends' cities -- reinforces the need to keep playing.

Angry Birds needs a social hook if it's going to keep people coming back on a regular basis. Rovio hasn't said exactly how Angry Birds will work on Facebook, but Rovio studio boss Mikael Hed hinted to Develop that "there will be completely new aspects to it that just haven't been experienced in any other platform." He added that "the pigs will have a more prominent role" due to Facebook's collaborative nature.

Of course, Rovio and Zynga aren't directly competing; Angry Birds can be a smashing success on Facebook at the same time as Cityville and Farmville. But it's fair to say that the title of top Facebook game is a coveted one. If anyone can snatch that distinction from Zynga, it's Rovio's flock of flustered, feathered creatures.

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