It never seems to fail: a new version of Angry Birds means all kinds of crazy numbers for Rovio Mobile’s uber-popular franchise.
The latest version of Angry Birds joins the record-setting ranks of the original and the oft-updated Angry Birds Seasons. Angry Birds Rio, a $0.99 download in the iTunes App Store on the iPhone and $2.99 on the iPad, is currently the top-grossing app in the store. According to Rovio, the game was downloaded 10 million times in the first 10 days it was available, across all platforms, which is a record for the company.
That’s a million people buying Angry Birds Rio each day since its release -- something of a staggering number.
Angry Birds Rio is a tie-in with Fox’s upcoming animated movie Rio, and features characters and environments from the upcoming film. It currently packs 45 levels, with Rovio releasing more each month in various packs until the film’s release. It’s also the best-looking version of Angry Birds to date, with better graphics and more engaging environments than the game has necessarily seen before.
It was also the target of a lot of smart marketing and a lot of attention on Rovio’s part. Angry Birds made a somewhat-secret appearance in a Rio Super Bowl ad, which garnered a lot of attention around the Internet. Until March 14, the only way Android users could get ahold of the game was through the newly opened Amazon Appstore -- and once that exclusive deal ran out, the game appeared in Google’s Android Market for free. There’s also a free version of the game available in the iTunes App Store.
All that work has had Angry Birds Rio in the eye of the app-watching public for some time now. Add to it the fact that the game has been upgraded graphically and includes new environments and characters, and it seems that Rovio has found a good way to make Angry Birds at least a little fresh while maintaining its very much tried-and-true gameplay.
The 10 million downloads also suggest that there is absolutely no waning in popularity for the Angry Birds franchise, despite the fact that Rovio is riding a speeding train toward oversaturation. Talk of an Angry Birds cartoon show or film, coupled with more versions of the game and things like plush toys, are doing nothing to make most people get tired of the franchise.
Rovio is pushing Angry Birds forward, but it’s doing so slowly and with tiny increments -- and that seems to be a great strategy, especially given that it just netted $42 million in investment capital for the future. The app world is still relatively young, and with so many new customers coming into the fray, Angry Birds is constantly getting handed off to new players. It seems Rovio has an idea of how it wants to progress its massively popular cash cow: in a word, carefully.