When Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka also known as The Mighty Eagle took to the stage in London at the Pocket Gamer Connects 2014 conference an impressive figure appeared on the projector. In bold letters it stated roughly that there are “more than 2 billion copies of Angry Birds out there.” Of course that figure almost seemed impossible when Rovio began their studio.
“Back in 2010, I said ‘we’re going to have 100 million downloads for Angry Birds.’ That was totally unheard of. Only Tetris had done that, and it took them 20 years,” said Vesterbacka during his PGC presentation.
“Now when you look back, and see how the market has changed, if someone says ‘we’re going to get 100 million downloads for a game’ people think, well it’s a bit ambitious, but it’s achievable.”
“200 million people play Angry Birds every month” he remarked, and to put that into perspective, “That’s all of Twitter.”
The figures do not lie. Angry Birds is one of the most commercially successful games to-date. Peter Vesterbacka has definetly earned his bragging rights. But of course, like many uber successful companies it did not happen overnight. “We know very well how tough it is to make a hit game”, he says.
Rovio had 51 previous games that you’ve probably never heard of or played before their smash hit dominated the market. So what is the key to Angry Birds’ success? They simply kept creating and did not give up until they’ve reached their goal, which can be an inspiring lesson to all indie studios and upcoming devs out there. If you keep going up to the bat eventually you’ll get a home run.
“It’s very crowded out there. For every Angry Birds, there are many not-so Angry Birds. You have to be serious about marketing, you have to be serious about branding,” said Vesterbacka.
The Mighty Eagle harped on the importance of branding during his presentation. “With Angry Birds we built the fastest growing brand ever”, which he claims 9/10 people in the US are aware of. Referencing to Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros, Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, and Disney’s Micky Mouse, he called attention to the fact that these characters and their brands have been a major part of modern-day culture, and now Angry Birds will be included in that legacy.
Concluding his speech, Vesterbacka remarked with a smile, “It’s a good start but we’re only getting started.”