Angry birds—More than one way to the box office

Six years after developing more than fifty mobile games that failed to make an impact, Rovio’s 52nd game showed up in various Top 10 Apps and Game Charts. More than four million downloads after it was first released, Angry Birds is the hit game that was an unexpected success.

In 2011, this was the fastest-growing game in history, spawning fan merchandise, full-length movies, and amusement park attractions.

This phenomenon happened with funding fast running out. Having significantly reduced its headcount. And most definitely without positive feedback from their previous releases. They didn’t want to shut the company down because… what if they could still make a game that would capture people’s imagination?

The thing is, it wasn’t about the gameplay or any strict criteria to determine which game to go with. It was designed squarely around the angry bird character. One evening a game designer called Jaakko Iisalo settled down to play some video games. As he immersed himself an idea started to form, and he sketched out a bird with large eyebrows, no feet, and a somewhat deranged expression. When he presented it to management the next day everyone found it irresistible. And so it began to spread.

Now with a series of eighteen video games (plus nine spin-off’s and compilations), there are 9.2 million daily active users. And we can ponder if trying something for the 52nd time is ever a good idea.

It should be no surprise that there will be a third installment of the movie in 2021. Box-office success again.