People who don't play video games play Angry Birds
. It might be a marketing statement from Ville Heijari, vice-president of public relations for Rovio
, but it's also an apt description for the simple addictive video game storming across smartphones.
Since it debuted last year, Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 10 million times. "This app has exceeded our wildest dreams," says Heijari, on the phone from Rovio's headquarters in Finland. "We would've been happy with 150,00 downloads."
Angry Birds is a puzzle game where players control birds they can "flick" across their touchscreens to destroy smirking pigs and makeshift buildings made from wood and concrete pillers. The goal is to get the bird to break through the walls and hit the pigs. As the levels progress, the pigs are increasingly difficult to reach, and players have to figure out various angles at which to fling the birds, and which birds to use. Birds with various powers begin to appear in later levels.
As popular as Angry Birds has become on smartphones, Rovio plans to expand in the coming weeks. The company is dubbing Dec. 11 Angry Birds Day
, encouraging game fans to meet up in their communities and dress up as their favourite characters. One of the biggest meet-ups is scheduled for Trafalgar Square in London.
But before that event, Heijari tells DigitalJournal.com
they'll announce some new developments, such as bringing Angry Birds to more platforms. News of the console versions have already been leaked
: Angry Birds is expected to swoop onto the Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation 3.
What about PCs?
"It is no secret we want to bring the game to PCs and Macs," Heijari said. He wouldn't offer any more details, but he also said Rovio is hoping to bring Angry Birds to Facebook's gaming platform. "Look at the popularity of Farmville
, Mafia Wars
. This is where people are playing games. And yes, it'll be free to play on Facebook."
He wouldn't indicate when it would be available for PCs or Facebook. "In 2011, sometime," he noted vaguely.
Also in 2011, Angry Birds 2 will reach fans who have already flew past the original. What should gamers expect?
"No, it won't be revenge of the pigs," Heijari said, striking down rumours the sequel will prominently feature the pigs in a starring role. "It's going to be quite different than the first Angry Birds and there'll be more variety in the game style," he explained.
Very soon Rovio will also announce a new character available for purchase. The Mighty Eagle is an in-game download that acts "like a super missile," as Heijari described it. Costing $1, the Mighty Eagle can obliterate pigs with one fell swoop.
Rumours have been swirling about an Angry Birds movie, and when asked about the gossip Heijari said "there is no deal yet." Hollywood has been courting the Rovio developers, but Heijari said they are primarily interested in speaking to prominent animators "because we think that would be a better fit for Angry Birds."
The 33-person Rovio team is also in discussion with distributors and merchandisers for their spin-off products, such as Angry Birds shirts. North America is the target market, Heijari admitted, and he maintained "there are still many things we can explore with these Angry Birds characters."