“Rovio Entertainment Ltd., the gaming company behind the immensely popular Angry Birds franchise, is changing its business strategy, aiming to make more money by making its games free,” Juhana Rossi reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The company has spent years building a revenue base by offering Angry Birds games that cost money to download. But now it has changed course and entered the world of so-called ‘freemium’ gaming, where the game costs nothing to download, but is packed with features that users must pay to access, such as ways to speed the game up or increase power.”
“Rovio, which burst onto the mobile gaming scene in 2009, released Angry Birds Go! on a freemium basis last month. While the company has experimented with the free-to-play strategy in the past, this is the first time an Angry Birds game has been solely designed to compete with other freemium games, such as Supercell’s Clash of Clans or King’s Candy Crush,” Rossi reports. “‘Free-to-play is new for us,’ Jami Laes, Rovio’s executive vice president for games, said in an interview. ‘That’s why we are taking it slow.'”
“In addition to its new monetization mechanics and marketing tactics, Go! also marks a new departure for Rovio in its game genre. Unlike previous Angry Birds games, which have been slingshot games where players hurl birds across the screen, Angry Birds Go! is a racing game in which players steer soapbox karts on downhill tracks,” Rossi reports. “Mr. Laes said that Go!’s departure from the slingshot gameplay pattern doesn’t qualify as ‘a proper reboot’ of the Angry Birds franchise. That is coming, but Mr. Laes declined to give any specifics and talks only vaguely about the time frame, saying that a reboot will take place before the premier of the feature-length Angry Birds cartoon in July 2016.”
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