The Angry Birds Revolution is marching on and smashing all obstacles that may be in its way. This is the picture you get when you consider the phenomenal success that Angry Birds maker Rovio have had with their casual game in the last two years. The Finland-based company, which has only so far grown its work force to 50, has had a brilliant run in as far as gaming is concerned and have gone even further by defining new markets and blurring the divide between digital games and physical goods.
Recently, Angry Birds signed up with California nuts company Wonderful Pistachios to create a new promotional gaming level to the Angry Birds gaming universe. The game features a new level which players can access via an iOS update. This promotion is one in a series of collaborations that Rovio have had with third-party entities with the most notable being the Angry Birds Rio release that tied in with the release of the feature animation Rio. Rovio have also recently released an Angry Birds cookbook titled Angry Birds: Bad Piggies’ Egg Recipes, which will retail for slightly less than $10 on Amazon and that the company hopes will add to it’s already impressive arsenal of high-selling Angry Birds merchandise.
Meanwhile, social gaming giant Zynga are preparing for their imminent IPO on a company valuation of $10 billion, a valuation that is almost ten times more than the $1.2 billion valuation that Rovio are seeking through their next funding round. What is interesting however is that Zynga, who have been on a social gaming company buying spree buying up to 15 games studios in the run up to their IPO, made a reported $2.5 billion offer to buy Rovio, which the Finnish company turned down. Another company that snubbed Zynga is Bejewelled game maker PopCap Games that turned down a $950 million Zynga offer in favour of a $750 million Electronic Arts offer. What seems to be bedevilling Zynga and giving investors jitters are the internal rumblings that have been emanating from Zynga.
From cut throat internal competition to stock option retrievals on the threat of under performance, the social gaming giant has been busy rebuffing allegations even as industry leaders lambaste the company for having a hostile work environment. In fact, many see the snub by PopCap as attributable to these circulating rumours. But what is clear is that Zynga and Rovio have two very distinct and more or less parallel game plans that may see them avoid any collision in the near future. While Rovio are busy mashing up the line between games and consumer goods, Zynga are planning a platform based approach that will see them rely less on social networking platforms such as Facebook by making their games more social through the integration of social features such a chat and connecting with other players directly.
The future looks bright for both companies although Zynga must exercise caution after their IPO as it is a well-known fact that most companies experience massive brain-drain post-IPO as employees cash out on stock options and head for greener and more exciting pastures and the most likely destination for this brain drain from Zynga may very well be Angry Birds Rovio.