Paul Chen, General Manager of Rovio China, opened his keynote speech on the innovation of Angry Birds with a question: how many people in the audience have heard of Angry Birds? After a predictably enthusiastic response (everyone raised their hand), he went on to note that the game has racked up a total of 700 million downloads worldwide. But to get to this point has been an uphill battle. Behind the franchise’s runaway success is Rovio’s enthusiastic and indefatigable team, said Chen.

Rovio was founded in 2003 by a group of three friends. In its first six years, the company developed many games – but nothing seemed to strike a chord with the general public on a broad scale. In 2009, they were losing money and considered closing shop. That same year, the first Angry Birds game was released. It quickly became a phenomenon on iTunes, rocketing to the top of the charts – and giving Rovio the injection it needed to further develop the franchise.

Chen next displayed a chart of the player demographics for Angry Birds, which revealed a near even split between men and women and between all age groups. Angry Birds is not just a commercial success; it is the fastest growing consumer franchise of all time, said Chen.

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