I guess most people have played with the game, Angry Birds. The tremendous popular catapult-puzzle game was developed by a Finland company, called Rovio Entertainment. Since the game was launched iPhone two years ago, it has been one of the most popular app on iPhone. Apart from iPhone, different versions of the game are launched on Android platform, game consoles (such as Playstation) and so on. It also launched many special editions, such as Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, etc. In total, the game and its different editions have been downloaded over 500 million times onto different platforms. Out of which, over 25% were paid download, making it one of the most sold games in the Apple App Store.

In a startup conference in Shanghai (ChinaStars), I met one of Rovio’s senior executive, Peter Vesterbacka, who is known as Mighty Eagle in the company and asked him about the future of the company. Surprisingly, he said, “we don’t see ourselves as a game company anymore.” After getting extremely successful with Angry Birds, he thought Rovio’s next phase is to build an entertainment Franchise, just like Disney, but not a game company like EA. In his opinion, the Angry Birds brand can be more than game, but expands to cover other area, such as movies, animations, physical goods, and even theme parks. “Angry Birds can be just like Hello Kitty or Micky Mouse,” said Peter.

The Hollywood movie, Rio, is an attempt to expand the Angry Birds brand to other area. Although not very obvious, there are some hints of the Angry Birds characters in the movie. Rovio also launched a special edition, Angry Birds Rio — the Angry Birds characters appear in Rio de Janeiro and interact with characters from the film. Recently, the company also published a cookbook, based on the Angry Birds characters. “We will build everything around the Angry Birds brand,” said Peter.

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Sherman So

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. (http://redwiredrevolution.com/) She previously was the lead China technology reporter...