Angry Birds first appeared in Apple’s iPhone App Store in December 2009. Since then, the game has expanded to multiple devices, including the iPad, Android phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable, amassing over 75 million downloads to date, according to Rovio. The majority of sales comes from the App Store, where Angry Birds has consistently ranked a best seller.
Made by the creators of Ice Age, Rio will release in theaters April 15. Image courtesy of Rovio
Angry Birds accentuates the business opportunity unlocked by the iTunes App Store, Apple’s digital-distribution platform for selling third-party apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Launched in summer of 2008, the App Store’s friction-free business model proved to be a new digital frontier where software programmers big and small had an opportunity to make serious money, whereas before, hobbyist coders were no match to major game studios and their colossal marketing budgets.
In the App Store, some programmers have netted hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales with clever games, software utilities and DIY social marketing. Apple recently announced that iOS customers surpassed 10 billion app downloads.
But Angry Birds was not a small-team effort, nor was its success a lucky strike. Based in Finland, the Rovio game studio that makes Angry Birds has 40 employees and expects to expand to 100 by the end of this year.