Angry Birds flies to Facebook later this year

Angry Birds flies to Facebook later this year
Michael French

By Michael French

March 4th 2011 at 2:15PM

Developer Rovio also says driving and sport spin-offs possible once Rio tie-in is out; console versions still on-course

With 75m downloads, you'd be forgiven for thinking that smash hit game Angry Birds is on the verge of hitting its limit.

But Finnish developer Rovio, which created the game and has grown it into a massive franchise over the last year, says much more is to come.

Including not just the inevitable TV/movie spin-off, but a new 'collaborative' Facebook game, plus Angry Birds games in other genres like driving and sports.

The latest issue of Wired UK features an extensive profile on the studio, and quotes its senior staff on a social game version and other expansion plans.

It was already confirmed that it would be expanding to consoles - a PSN version is already available, with Wii and 360 versions coming too. And last year the studio launched a range of merchandise, plush dolls.

On Facebook, "there will be completely new aspects to it that just haven't been experienced in any other platform," said studio boss Mikael Hed, who confirms that due to the social site's 'collaborative nature', "the pigs will have a more prominent role".

Meanwhile, Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio's 'might eagle' (business development) in the piece confirms that other spin-offs could be in the driving and sports genres, moving away from the puzzle-strategy 2D game's origins.

The studio is launching Angry Birds Rio in a matter of days, which is a tie-in with a Fox movie and swaps the villainous pigs for monkeys seen in the film.

"We're building an integrated entertainment franchise where merchandising, games, movies, TV, cartoons and comics all come together," said Vesterbacka.

He calls Rovio's strategy 'Disney 2.0'.

Hed added: "Look at how Disney got started. Steamboat Willie created Mickey Mouse, then they added more characters. You can see the same pattern today, but everything is happening much, much faster. Other brands used to build recognition over the course of decades. We've done it in one year."

The firm also says it will probably launch its next game - it's 53rd - next year.

In the meantime "we are building our infrastructure with Angry Birds," said Vesterbacka. "So we have the distribution, the marketing, everything in place, so that we can basically take any IP and drop it in. And we have the capability of producing the games on all the platforms - smartphone, consoles, PCs, Mac, online, Facebook - you name it. Then the TV, the movie side, it will happen when the time is right."