Angry Birds: The "Snooki" Of Video Games?
Rovio continues to fist pump all the way to the bank.
OK, seriously. How long is the Angry Birds craze going to last?
With each passing month, Rovio Entertainment's incredibly popular video game franchise has invaded another country or facet of pop culture. Angry Birds go to China. Angry Birds receive a clothing line. Angry Birds toys to appear at Walmart. Angry Birds Halloween costumes at Amazon.
Soon, it'll be Angry Birds candy, Angry Birds themed condoms and Angry Birds: The Movie.
Pardon us for saying this, but there's something odd about the game's success. There's an artificiality to it we have trouble accepting.
Consider Nintendo. Here's the most successful video game publisher in history, a company built on a foundation of Mario, Zelda and Pokemon.
Thing is, it didn't happen over night. Mario's the result of more than 26 years of evolution, dating back to the original 1981 Donkey Kong arcade game when he was known as Jumpman, as well as the villain, for god's sake. Now he's a squeaky clean good guy. The plumber never had an image problem (Nintendo renamed him "Mario" and went forward), but it took years to make him a household name.
Conversely, along comes Rovio (then Rovio Mobile), a developer best known for games on Java, which is to say not known for anything at all, with one great idea that somehow blows up. Call it the Snooki (of Jersey Shore fame) of video games, because if reality TV has taught us this much, you don't need to be previously famous or accomplished to catch lightning in a bottle; coincidentally, both Snooki and Angry Birds appeared in 2009.
In this case, it's a textbook example of right place, right time. The App Store was still in its infancy, the platform needed a hit and Chillingo (the original publisher of Angry Birds) stepped up to the plate. That said, we doubt either party expected over 350 million downloads; no word on how many of those are paid, by the way.
On that note, and barring some deal with the devil, Rovio deserves every bit of success. The talented group etched its name in video game history, while the App Store and Android Marketplace probably wouldn't be as huge without Angry Birds. If anything, this is proof to aspiring developers that you don't need to work for a huge corporation under the watchful eye of Shigeru Miyamoto to make it in this industry. You just need one good idea and the means to bring it to fruition.
Or just some teased hair and a cohort that calls himself, "The Situation".