If you’ve had your nose to the ground this week you would have been almost certain to have heard about a particularly notable tale of an indie games developer who got a lot more success than he bargained for. The Vietnamese creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, stated that the fame accrued from it ruined his “simple life”, and withdrew the game from circulation just days ago. It was thought that Nguyen was making as much as $50,000 a day from the game’s advertising revenue shortly before it was removed from the app store.
Flappy Bird now defunct
The decision to remove Flappy Bird has created a minor furore, but Nguyen is adamant that he won’t alter his decision, despite the awesome success of his game. Although most people would relish such an income, the young Vietnamese was clearly unprepared for the level of recognition that Flappy Bird achieved, although he has stated that he is still passionate about making games and will release new titles in the future.
However, those disappointed by the discontinuation of Flappy Birds and eager to see other mobile-based games might be slightly relieved today to learn that a new version of ‘Angry Birds’ is in the pipeline with a release sometime in the fall mooted by developers. ‘Angry Birds: Stella’ will apparently be particularly aimed at female gamers, with the new title prominently featuring a new female bird character.
Angry Birds: Stella to take different tack
The developers of the title have dubbed ‘Angry Birds: Stella’ a game which is “about inspiration, empowerment, and other real issues”, while retaining the sort of anarchic fun which is typically associated with the ‘Angry Birds’ series. It is clear that there is going to be a real effort in the game to branch out from the rather basic structure of previous ‘Angry Birds’ games, with Mikael Hed, the CEO of developers Rovio Entertainment, stating that the new game will introduce strong, passionate characters with explicit personal values.
Hed has also indicated that the new ‘Angry Birds’ title will be sold across numerous physical and digital platforms, and specifically stated that he wanted to bring the game to customers is new, fun and innovative ways. The model for producing, distributing and selling video games in constantly evolving, with new machines such as the recent Steam Box establishing itself alongside more traditional platforms. Furthermore, new economic models involving micro-transactions have become increasingly prominent (and often reviled), and the rampant technology of the cloud threatens to thicken the plot even further. Thus, it will be interesting to see what “innovative” ideas Rovio come up with in this regard.
‘Angry Birds’ has become a massive success since it was first released for Apple’s iOS operating system back in December, 2009. Since then there have been numerous ‘Angry Bird’ releases, which have clocked up a scarcely believable 2 billion downloads across all platforms. The easy to pick up, fast-paced gameplay has claimed many addicts and devotees over the years, and fans of the series are also eagerly awaiting the release of the ‘Angry Birds’ movie, which is due to be released on July 1, 2016. It seems likely that new characters featured in this game will later be part of the ‘Angry Birds’ movie.
‘Angry Birds: Stella’ has already been announced on its own Tumblr blog, and the series overall looks to be an attempt to produce a female-focused line of games to attract more female gamers across to its product line. This is a similar approach to that which was used by the ‘Lego Friends’ game, the latest in a long line of Lego related video games, which has also spawned a movie which has been released in the last week or so to largely positive reviews.
Micro-transaction model possible
With such an impressive raft of downloads, Rovio is naturally one of the most successful mobile developers in the world. However, the massive success of recent games such as ‘Clash of Clans’ and ‘Candy Crush’ in particular has meant that the company has a little to do to catch up with the leading names in this field. Leading developers Supercell and King have racked up hundreds of millions of dollars from in-app purchases, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Rovio attempt something similar with the latest ‘Angry Birds’ title.
Rovio has yet to publish its financial results for 2013, but the company had revenue of €152.2m in 2012. They will be looking for this new and distinctive ‘Angry Birds’ title to aid growth in their financial results during 2014.