Who hasn’t heard of the “Angry Birds”? Angry Birds started as a mobile game. Nevertheless, it quickly attained such widespread acclaim that it gave rise to numerous spin-offs.
The Angry Birds Movie and The Angry Birds Movie 2 are two films that are based on the game. There are also PC and gaming console versions of the game, merchandise featuring the game’s characters, a television animated series, and merchandise.
Rovio Entertainment Oyj, a Finnish video game developer based in Espoo, developed Angry Birds.
Rovio was on the verge of bankruptcy before the release of Angry Birds. The studio’s founders put a tremendous amount of time and effort into it; they had already created 51 games, but none of them were a commercial success. Because the company was bankrupt, it had to fire the majority of its employees
Is a 51-time failure typical? How many times would you attempt to reach your goal? Here is the tale of Rovio Studios’ success after a string of setbacks
In 2003, Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen, and Kim Dikert, three friends from the University of Helsinki in Finland, competed in a mobile game development contest. When they won the competition brilliantly, the team decided to create their own game company, Relude, which is now known as Rovio Entertainment
They began with the intention of creating a popular game. They started creating their first game and kept releasing games one by one for the next five years but none of them was a success.
Relude received a significant investor in 2005 and changed its name to Rovio, which means “bonfire” in Finnish.
When the iPhone debuted in 2007, Rovio saw it as their big break. Rovio’s CEO, Mikael Hed, stated that they attempted to profile iPhone users but discovered that it was everyone.
Rovio wanted to create a game that would appeal to the enormous customer base of the iPhone, as opposed to their previous games, which catered to niche audiences with some sci-fi and horror titles.
The development team carefully considered the iPhone market and concluded that certain requirements had to be met for a game to be successful.
It couldn’t have a tutorial, it needed to load quickly, and millennial iPhone users’ short attention spans would benefit from its ability to be happily entertained for just one minute.
They released their 51st game in 2009 and it was still a flop. The funding eventually ran out. They were staring down the barrel of insolvency. They had just enough money for one game left over.
Because of the budget, the majority of the Rovio staff was laid off, leaving only 12 people. The team’s sole designerJaakko Iisalo, would create concepts and drawings regularly, but none of them stood out. He was sitting at his computer one day, trying to draw some simple creative animals for the game.
He drew a flock of birds, giving them beaks, rounded shapes, and, for some reason, angry eyebrows. He imagined a flock of angry birds wreaking havoc everywhere they went.
The original concept, however, was very different from how Angry Birds turned out. There were several birds in line, and when you touched the first one, it simply attacked some plain, color-coded structures.
The birds would simply jump at anything by the time the Rovio team reached a prototype stage. People who were subjected to the experimentation were unsure of what the birds were meant to do.
The Rovio team realized they needed an easily recognizable launcher for the birds. They tried a variety of things for a while, including a swing, before Jaakko Iisalo showed up with the slingshot, but it seemed too obvious and simple.
With the slingshot, however, players immediately understood what they were supposed to do.
They were flightless, footless birds. And they were very angry. Rovio members began imagining their sources of rage. They made the characters think a lot for such simple characters. According to them, there was some sort of magic involved.
Because the 2009 swine flu epidemic was in the news at the time, the team decided to make pigs the Angry Birds’ enemies. Some heinous pigs who had stolen the birds’ eggs.
Jaakko Iisalo drew a pig thing he’s been drawing since he was ten years old because of their limited time. Because everything had to be kept as simple as possible, He chose a primary color for each bird. He chose green as the complementary color for the pigs as the main character was red.
So the company decided to create a game based on the concept, in which birds would be launched into the air and knock pigs off their pedestals. Rovio set aside €25,000 for the project, and the team worked on Angry Birds as a side project.
Rovio worked on other projects and produced four games for other companies during the six months it took to create the game. Even as the team was working on the game, they knew it was going to be something special.
CEO Mikael claims that whenever they had to shoot the bird once to test a feature, they would unintentionally start playing the game for 15 minutes while five other guys watched the player.
And when one of the cofounders’ mothers accidentally burned her Christmas turkey while playing a pre-release copy of the game, they knew they were onto something.
However, the game was not an instant success. Angry Birds first appeared on the App Store in Dec 2009, to a mixed response in the lucrative markets of the United States and the United Kingdom.
But Rovio wasn’t deterred and chose to concentrate on smaller nations. The game reached Finland’s top charts with just a few hundred downloads. It quickly became successful in Sweden and Denmark before beginning to gain traction in the Czech Republic and Greece.
After 40,000 downloads, the larger markets soon began to pay attention. On February 11, 2010, Apple selected Angry Birds as the week’s featured game on the UK App Store.
After three days, Angry Birds rocketed from 600th to first place in the UK Store, igniting an explosive rise in popularity. The game topped the US app store charts by April as well.
Rovio’s popularity meant that they were quickly making a lot of money. On the App Store, downloads were charged for, and on Android, the company chose to monetize the game with ads.
Soon, it was making 600,000 pounds per month from the Android versions. Rovio skillfully crafted in-game purchases as well. A Mighty Eagle that cost 89 pence (Rs. 90) and helped you pass any level was downloaded more than 2 million times.
And Rovio expanded into the offline world to capitalize on its success.
That year, during the Christmas season, Angry Birds began selling soft toys directly through the app.
Although they had initially ordered 12,000 they ultimately sold more than five times as many. By 2013, the business had a catalog of over 30,000 Angry Bird-related products available for purchase in more than 500 locations worldwide, accounting for close to 50% of its revenue.
The demand for Angry Birds merchandise has been tapped into by several businesses, including popgear.
Following the success of Angry Birds, Rovio has continued to develop other games while expanding the Angry Birds franchise. It recently established a game studio in London and started developing MMO multiplayer games.
Through the sale of its other products and the release of the Angry Birds movie, the company brought in $201 million last year. After its IPO, the company is changing into a sizable games studio, but it will likely always be known for the straightforward, oddball game that completely turned around its financial situation.
The Rovio team is currently developing several games in various stages. In 2019, the company made a donation of $100,000 to UNICEF’s Education in Emergencies fund to commemorate the original game’s 10th anniversary.
The company has also used the popularity of Angry Birds and Angry Birds 2 for charitable purposes. Additionally, Rovio collaborated with Duolingo, a language learning app, and incorporated the Duo owl, the company’s mascot, as a branded spell in Angry Birds 2.
Rovio’s story is simply fantastic. How many people actually try so many times to achieve their goal? Rovio undoubtedly had times when they considered giving up, but their team’s vision and belief in their dream helped them achieve a goal they had once started as a side project.
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