Angry Birds Space Tops 50 Million Downloads
May 1, 2012

Angry Birds Space Tops 50 Million Downloads

Peter Suciu for

There seems to be no calming the flock of Angry Birds, the popular social game that has just gone stellar in more ways than one. According to its publisher, Rovio, Angry Birds Space has been downloaded more than 50 million times in its first 35 days on the market. That´s a lot to chirp about as it becomes the fastest-growing mobile game released to date.

The flock of followers is also impressive, and 75 million downloads in the series proves the bird brains can't be wrong.

Nor is this amount of downloads chicken feed either. This latest release in the popular series is available on iOS (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad), Android, PC, and the Mac, while Rovio just released 10 new levels for iOS and Android. Given that the retail cost for the title ranges from around $2.99 to $4.99 a download, Rovio is squawking to the bank with more than $100 million.

“This has been simply amazing, and the whole Rovio team is thrilled to see such a fantastic reception for the game,” the company said in a blog post. “We extend our deepest gratitude to all fans of Angry Birds everywhere. While numbers like this certainly say something about the popularity of Angry Birds, for us the main goal is to keep creating fun new experiences that everybody can enjoy! We just launched the first free update for Angry Birds Space, with plenty more surprises in stock.”

This latest Angry Birds title was released on March 22 for iOS and Android devices, as well as Macs and PCs, with one of the biggest, and probably most expensive, promotional campaigns for a mobile game ever seen. It apparently has paid off. Within hours of the release, Angry Birds Space boldly went to the top of Apple's App Store charts in more than 30 countries, and in just three days. 10 million downloads.

To keep the Angry fans happy Rovio released the first three update last week, which added additional levels free of charge. The company has further promised “plenty more surprises in stock.”

The strategy puzzle video game series from Finnish-based Rovio has been a hit since it was first released for Apple's iOS in December 2009. This simple, yet addictive, game play involves players using a slingshot to watch birds against pigs on the opposite side of the field.

Last year MIT Entrepreneurship Review heralded Angry Birds, noting, “Angry Birds is the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far.” It quoted Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio´s chief marketing officer, who suggested that the franchise could be bigger than Disney's Mickey Mouse or Nintendo's Mario.

That may certainly be a tall order, but Vesterbacka further noted, “The simplicity and addiction factor of Angry Birds is somewhat reminiscent of Tetris.”

Again, a very valid point. But Tetris, which debuted in 1984 and was the first entertainment software to be exported from USSR to the United States, may still have its fans, but nothing on the level of Mario and certainly not Mickey Mouse.

It also remains to be seen whether the Angry Birds could crossover to other mediums. Mickey has been a staple in cinema, TV and of course video games - whilst Mario and his pals have an embarrassing film to live down. Pac-Man was a popular videogame - but didn't score big as a Saturday morning cartoon - and probably serves as a more apt comparison for our feathered friends. Since being released in 1980, Pac-Man has gobbled up more than $2.5 billion in quarters. In other words a fad, but a very big fad.