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Since its release earlier this month, Angry Birds 2 has managed to be a big success for Rovio, achieving over 20 million downloads in its first week. However, when it comes to its overall success, the publisher of the popular mobile brand believes there’s more to the picture.
VentureBeat recently spoke with chief commercial officer for Rovio, Alex Lambeek, about how this “second phase” of the Angry Birds franchise will go, as well as where it’s success could come from. Believe it or not, brand partners could actually play a big part.
Of course, the games are important, too, as Lambeek explained that Angry Birds 2 is precisely the title that Rovio wanted to make when the whole thing began. “This is the game we would have wanted to create already five years ago,” he said. “This is what our vision about the game and the characters has always been like. At that time, it just wasn’t technically possible to create something like this. Nor had we enough resources back then.”
Making such a title wasn’t always an easy process, either but it was certainly a creative one. We were experimenting for a while [with] what we could do visually with the current mobile hardware, how we could improve environment and characters, but still stick to the 2D world of the original games and Toons, Lambeek stated. From a gameplay and user experience perspective, we are fans of simplicity and wanted to innovate within the frames of the very first game. Once we made those breakthroughs, we just had to make the game
But, of course, crossing over with brand partners became a fundamental part of the business, including team-ups with Star Wars and Transformers franchises, amongst others. We have managed to keep the brand fresh with diversification of game titles with very recognizable identities [Angry Birds Star Wars, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Transformers, Angry Birds Go!, Angry Birds Epic], said Lambeek. We have also created two spin-offs: Bad Piggies and Angry Birds Stella with unique demographics. By creating these thematic updates and spin-offs, we focus on different demos. Taking AB into new genres of games and that is what inspires us and drives innovation in the company.
Not only does finding appeal with certain brands pay off, but also catering to what other countries look for in terms of mobile demand. We maintain the momentum by partnering with like-minded companies that know the markets very well, Lambeek said. One-third of our downloads come from the China market Kunlun [our success in China] truly depends on understanding consumers and working with partners like Kunlun Alibaba and Karatopia, who truly know the market for CP, media, and games.
So with partnerships with Lego, Sony and other companies, where will the true focus lie with Angry Birds from here Pleasing our fans and developing a brand that people love and trust is our core priority, said Lambeek. And we will not venture into any area where that core will be compromised.
Angry Birds 2 is available for download now.