Angry Birds Space launched to much fanfare Thursday for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows, but game maker Rovio decided several smartphone platforms are not in fact for the birds, including Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. The much-hyped Angry Birds game will not be coming to Windows Phone anytime soon despite Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia, one of the world’s largest handset manufacturers, and the fact that Angry Birds is one of the top-selling games for Windows Phone.
Rovio’s Chief Marketing Office Peter Vesterbacka recently told several Windows Phone fans via Twitter the company has no plans to produce a Windows Phone version. Vesterbacka later reiterated that position in an interview with Bloomberg TV citing technical reasons for leaving Windows Phone out of the company’s space madness. Rovio did not return PCWorld’s request for comment.
Rovio’s decision to pass over Windows Phone may be more proof that Microsoft’s smartphone platform is struggling to win over users and application developers. Microsoft smartphones were the sixth most popular-selling devices worldwide during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to market research firm Gartner.
In the U.S., Microsoft-powered smartphones face similar problems, recently declining by one percentage point from 5.4 percent in October to 4.4 percent of all American smartphones users in January, according to metrics firm comScore.
Windows 8 Rebound?
However, Microsoft’s smartphone popularity could turn around in the coming months after an expected Windows 8 launch in October.
The newest version of Microsoft’s desktop operating system shares many characteristics with Windows Phone, including a similar Metro-style interface and deep integration with online services such as Facebook, Flickr, and SkyDrive. If Microsoft’s new approach to desktop Windows proves popular, it may convince users to give Microsoft’s critically acclaimed smartphone platform another look.
More Platforms Coming
Despite Rovio’s statement that it has no plans to bring Angry Birds Space to Windows Phone, the company is telling fans via Twitter that other platforms will eventually get the newest Angry Birds game. It’s also worth noting that Rovio said in October 2010 said it had “not committed” to bringing the original Angry Birds game to Windows Phone. About eight months later, Rovio’s feathered bombers landed on Windows Phone.
According to several comments left on the Windows Phone Marketplace, Rovio has not rolled out regular updates to Windows Phone with new free game levels — a typical occurrence on other smartphone platforms. Angry Birds for Windows Phone costs $3 compared to 99 cents on Android (Angry Birds Space Premium) and iOS.
A last glimmer of hope for Angry Birds fans using Windows Phone may be China. Vesterbacka told Bloomberg that China may become Rovio’s biggest market later in 2012 after being the company’s fastest growing market for some time. Microsoft recently said it has big plans for Windows Phone in the People’s Republic. The software giant hopes to supply the number one smartphone platform in China, surpassing both Android and the iPhone through an aggressive pricing strategy.
If Windows Phone does become the most popular smartphone in the country, Rovio may have no choice but to react to the demands of its soon-to-be largest market and produce a Windows Phone version of Angry Birds Space.