Why All the Fuss Over Angry Birds?

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Source: Rovio Mobile

Angry Birds, the mobile game from Rovio Mobile that allows players to “dish out revenge on the green pigs who stole (their) eggs,” has been making a lot of headlines lately, most recently for racking up 1 million downloads on Android in a single day.

That’s obviously a lot of downloads. But what’s the big deal? What’s so compelling about this game? And what can brands looking to develop a comparable mobile experience learn from its success?

For starters, Angry Birds was a solid success on the iPhone. Once it got publicity, its sales continued to grow and the PR continued.

In my opinion, the initial spark that got it the coverage that started the snowball effect was the choice of gameplay and presentation: The game isn’t complex. And the greatest attraction by far is that it is easy to pick up game play. It also has a simple concept of trajectory-based strategy, puzzle elements in the simplest incarnation, cute characters, fun audio, and an addictive level progression system that has you replaying boards to earn “all 3 stars.”

The gaming space on Android has been severely lacking, but sales are soaring. There was an ever-increasing demand for games on the platform and, as such, the developer recognized the demand immediately and worked on the Android version. And, again, due to the nature of the game, it works well on Android and its capabilities as a gaming platform in all its OEM configurations. So — boom — one million plus in sales right off the bat.
If there is a lesson to be learned out of this for developers, it’s the importance of “not missing the boat” as you saw the same thing with the iPhone OS when it first supported games. There was a sleeper success to spark everyone else jumping on board, saturating the market and thus watering it down and ending the age of prosperity for most developers save for the large studios. This is the landscape of the mobile market, and with big players still on the way — like the Windows 7 Phone, webOS 2.0 and Blackberry OS 6.x — there are going to be many repeats to come.