Game creator and developer Rovio Entertainment Corporation continues to build on the success of its Angry Birds brand with exciting new additions, launches and partnerships
Founded in 2003, Rovio Entertainment Corporation (Rovio) has been creating hit games and providing entertainment for over 16 years. Based in Finland and listed on the main list of the NASDAQ Helsinki stock exchange, the company really made its impact on the mobile gaming scene in 2009, with the launch of the now famous and legendary game, Angry Birds. Within weeks, people all over the world were downloading and playing the game, determined to protect the Angry Birds’ nests from the scheming green pigs!
The popularity, playability and overall enjoyment of Angry Birds has fueled it to become one of the biggest mobile game hits of all time. It also allowed Rovio to expand the concept and grow the Angry Birds brand, moving it from games to various entertainment and consumer products through brand licensing. Today, Rovio offers several Angry Birds mobile games, as well as animations and even movies – the first Angry Birds movie was released in 2016, with its sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, released in 2019.
Angry Birds’ growth in the games sector continued into 2021, and January 2022 saw the launch of Angry Birds Journey – a casual puzzle game with the fan-favorite slingshot at its heart. Taking the birds on an adventure in search of egg-shaped artifacts, the flock must discover and activate Egg Wonders before the conniving green pigs reach them. Rovio CEO Alex Pelletier-Normand acknowledged fans’ love for the original slingshot gameplay, and while Angry Bird Journey has updated and streamlined the experience, it’s still filled with the same iconic characters that have defined Angry Birds games over the years. “We think Angry Birds Journey has something for long-time Angry Birds fans to love, but is also more accessible and therefore a great entry point for those who have never experienced classic slingshot games. “, he added.
After mentioning the dedicated Angry Birds fandom, now is a great time to mention the first version of the game, which enthusiasts have long wanted to see reintroduced to app stores for modern mobile devices. In response to their #bringback2012 campaign, the developers at Rovio are working on a reconstruction of the original game, which will not only replicate the look, but also the feel of the premium game launched in 2009, alongside all content released up to 2012. Slated to launch in the first half of 2022, Angry Birds Classic is a total rebuild on the Unity platform and includes a few upgrades alongside the authentic bird-throwing experience that fans love.
Clearly there is a big year ahead for the Angry Birds as alongside the development of the new game they also enjoyed their first full-length animated series Angry Birds: Summer Madness which premiered on Netflix in January 2022 with season two slated to be released later. The series details the adventures of a teenaged Red, Chuck, Bomb and Stella, as they spend the summer with other Angry Birds at Camp Splinterwood. They can’t escape those obnoxious piggies either – their own camp is just across the lake!
At just 11 minutes per episode, Angry Birds: Summer Madness encapsulates the fun and chaos of gaming, while expanding on the intrigue and rivalries between birds and pigs. It also offered Rovio the opportunity to launch exciting licensed products around the series, through its global licensing agency IMG Licensing, which strikes deals in major categories. In the first half of 2022, the first products are released in the USA in Sonic Drive-In restaurants where the exclusive toys are available in Wacky Pack meals.
Along with these Angry Birds game spinoffs, in 2021 fans also enjoyed brand partnerships that took the Angry Birds brand into new arenas. For example, in December 2021, Angry Birds Bird Island launched in Roblox, allowing players to create their own bird avatars, explore Bird Island, and raise adorable Hatchlings with friends. Rovio’s Vice President, Future of Entertainment, Ben Mattes, pointed out that platforms such as Roblox have exploded in recent years due to the exciting collaborative experiences they offer players. “It’s great for Angry Birds fans, who can now interact with their favorite characters and the world of Angry Birds, in a way never before possible,” he said. “We hope fans have fun exploring Angry Birds Bird Island together.”
The birds also made an appearance in bespoke animated form for a comedic advert for GEICO insurance, and featured on some high fashion clothing when Rovio collaborated with lifestyle brand Billebeino on a new Angry Birds capsule collection. in limited edition. “With Billebeino, we have found a partner as adventurous and fun as Angry Birds,” says Katri Chacona, Licensing Director at Rovio. “Each brand brings their own unique design approach and quirky sense of humor, resulting in a sleek new line that really stands out from the rest,” she adds.
In May 2021, Rovio once again partnered with the Burger King® brand, this time bringing Angry Birds plush toys to King Jr. Meals, as well as a new immersive web-based augmented reality (AR) experience . Web AR is the natural next step in the premium digital program that Rovio has offered its partners since 2016. It offers fun experiences such as mini-games and face filters that fans access through Angry Birds products, providing additional value to their purchase.
Most recently, in January 2022, the birds teamed up with Popeye and The SeaCleaners in a week-long themed tournament in Angry Birds Friends, which was designed to raise awareness about the health of our oceans.
This commitment to sustainability is not limited to Angry Birds – at the corporate level, Rovio has made a three-year commitment to support UNICEF’s education program in Sierra Leone. As part of the collaboration, Rovio is also continuing the Staff for UNICEF program, in which Rovio employees can donate money to a selected UNICEF program, with the company matching that donation. Through these programs with UNICEF, Rovio hopes to continue its contribution by providing much-needed education to those who truly need it.
The continued popularity of the Angry Birds brand is also noticeable in the consumer products (CP) and location-based entertainment (LBE) segments. In the former, Rovio seeks to bring back the classic Angry Birds style from early 2010 that greets very early fans with iconic characters, sophisticated designs, and a nostalgic feel. From original characters from the game to those known from the movies, Rovio is dedicated to producing world-class style guides that help maintain brand integrity and recognition while catering to the growing platforms and segments where Angry Birds characters can be found.
In the LBE sector, Rovio has experienced strong activity in recent years, with its collaboration with Topgolf a fine example of the format. Visitors to the Topgolf site can use its industry-leading Toptracer ball tracing technology and replace the birds’ slingshot with golf clubs, allowing them to hit the Angry Birds characters into rounds teeming with green pigs, and to have their shots plotted accurately on an Angry Birds Level. The one-of-a-kind interactive experience also won two prestigious awards in 2021 from the Licensing International Excellence Awards and the Transform Awards North America.
Continuing with the golf theme, the first Angry Birds mini-golf attraction in the United States opened in 2019 at the American Dream resort in New Jersey Meadowlands, featuring 18 holes of indoor golf that follow the plot of the Angry Birds movie. 2. Earlier in the same year, Namco UK Ltd opened an Angry Birds Adventure Golf site in the UK with an impressive 36 holes spread over two courses, offering an adventurous Angry Birds-themed mini-golf experience.
Plus, given the quirky “bird throwing” action of the Angry Birds game, it’s no surprise that Brunswick Bowling’s Angry Birds-themed bowling equipment is a popular choice with the interactive game available in 68 countries. Also a France-based company, NeoXperiences uses these familiar game mechanics with its Angry Birds Smash iteration, where players launch physical balls at a projected screen to demolish pig fortresses.
Rovio has also partnered with Sony Pictures Virtual Reality and location-based VR platform Hologate on another Angry Birds VR experience. This is a first-person VR world, where the player has a giant slingshot to fight off hordes of pigs!
While all of these different use cases illustrate the variety of ways the Angry Birds brand has been successfully developed outside of mobile games, perhaps the larger-scale use of the Angry Birds brand is Angry Birds World. – a full entertainment park in Doha Festival City, Qatar. The 17,000 square meter park is home to more than 20 unique Angry Birds-themed rides and attractions, including the world’s first indoor/outdoor go-kart track.
Having been so successful with its mobile games, over five billion downloads to date, Rovio is in an ideal position to license the Angry Birds brand through IMG Licensing to reap merchandising benefits and increase relevance and notoriety of its brand. Continuing this strategy through 2022, the company is seeking exciting future partnerships, including previously signed deals in categories such as sports equipment, apparel, toys, collectibles, confectionery and plush. After capturing the imaginations and hearts of a dedicated group of gamers and leveraging that success to attract new fans and gamers, Rovio and Angry Birds look set to soar to even greater heights in the future.