If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the Angry Birds phenomenon, you might not be able to escape for much longer. The game’s creators are heading to Hollywood to try to strike cash-in deals.
The game itself, which appears on the iPhone platform, is remarkably simple. You use a catapult to fling birds at a pile of wood or glass in an attempt to destroy a group of pigs that stole the birds’ eggs. As the game goes on, you acquire birds with different powers such as one that splits into three smaller birds, clusterbomb style.
It is ridiculously addictive, though it does mean that when my wife has the iPad and I hear the theme music start up, I know that I’ve got a few hours of complete control over the TV, so that’s a win. Part of the success is that it’s the type of game where you first have to work out how to complete each level, then physically pull it off.
The game has so far sold 6.5 million copies. What makes that particularly impressive is that the free edition (covering a few early levels) has 11 million downloads: as far as I know, a 50% conversion ratio for a free sample game is spectacularly high.
Now Variety is reporting that the producer, Rovio, has decided that rather than produce a new game (which they think would be like trying to strike gold twice), they are looking for spin-off deals.
Or to put it in Variety-speak, “The company’s founders have been making the rounds of the studios and tenpercenteries over the last several weeks weighing which ancillary offers to move forward with first.” (A “tenpercentarie” is an agent, working on said commission.) The company has recruited several specialist advisors, including a man who set up licensing deals for Twilight.
Rovio CEO Mikael Hed says there are plenty of possibilities, but he favors the idea of either a TV show or even a full-length movie based on the characters, noting that the claymation style of Wallace & Gromit might be the best format.
Whether that’s really going to succeed is open to question. While the characters are certainly cute enough, it really is the gameplay rather than the story which makes Angry Birds work. There aren’t many successful game-to-movie transplants, and this really does seem like a case where losing control of the characters would take away far too much of the appeal.