1. Rovio, the Finnish gaming company behind the Angry Birds phenomenon, has raised $42 million in Series A funding. That money “enable the company to increase its reach internationally, and across markets including mobile, social media and other platforms, and via merchandising and media production and partnerships. The company announced earlier plans to roll out an online Angry Birds experience towards next Summer, as well as developing games for all major consoles later in the year.”
2. Wired UK goes inside the company headquarters to find out how they made a smash-hit.
Rovio realised that the old rules of distribution — put a disk in a box, charge £50 for it and leave it there — didn’t apply. The company created an active, continuous relationship with the customer. It offered regular updates for nothing, to keep people playing and talking about the product: “Our game is a great way to communicate with the customer,” Mikael says. The team resolved to answer every tweet and fan letter that came in. They incorporated levels designed by fans and discussed their ideas for new birds (among the suggestions: a phoenix bird that ignites the structure). “People felt that here’s a gaming company that actually cares,” Mikael says.
According to Mikael, Angry Birds has become “the touchscreen game.” But Birds isn’t just a fun distraction — it actually taught many iPhone owners how to use their toy. James McQuivey is an analyst in digital entertainment at Forrester: “We only just learned how to do touchbased computing. It’s such an intuitive experience that we get hungry for that. And Angry Birds trains a deep part of your brain and rewards you every time you succeed.”