Angry Birds is apparently on its way to joining the likes of the game industry's bestselling franchises, including Tetris, The Sims, FIFA, and Need for Speed. According to Angry Birds developer Rovio, their totable avian-flinging physics-based puzzler is about to pass the 100 million downloads mark.
"People were saying we were crazy when we set that target last year," said Rovio's Peter Vesterbacka at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco. "Now, well what can I say? We are doing that."
Pretty impressive, considering the company was at roughly a third as many downloads not four months ago. And that's just tallying the platforms on which it's been released: iOS, Android, webOS, PSP, PlayStation 3, OS X, and Windows. Rovio's also planning versions for the Xbox 360, Wii, Windows Phone 7, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo's upcoming 3DS (out March 27), as well as seasonal updates to existing platforms.
And they haven't even announced an "Angry Birds 2" yet.
No surprise, Vesterbacka cited the mobile market as the place to be, claiming it's where "all the big new things are happening," and that developers now port games from mobile to console more frequently than console to mobile.
He's quick to lavish Apple with praise, too, saying "the iPhone changed everything," and suggesting the pre-iPhone games market was akin to a "Soviet-style" hegemony.
With Apple's App Store, Vesterback believes developers "just have to make good games," though he admits Apple "is not perfect" and calls the App Store "a closed system."
One of the Converted
Count me as one of Rovio's "almost 100 million."
I finally got around to buying and fooling with Angry Birds last Saturday night. Well, I mean my six-year-old niece did. I was all of a couple levels in when she crawled onto the chair beside me, got one look at what I was doing, and decided my iPhone was now her iPhone.
And you know what? She's pretty good. It took her all of a couple tries to figure out how to scout the target, slide the screen left and right, finger back the bird in the slingshot, take aim, and where to send the blue birds as opposed to the red birds (yep, she got to the blue birds, and was on her way to the yellow before bedtime).
Now if I could just figure out how she got three stars on a level I've only been able to get two.