Rovio sets Angry Birds free

“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.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. I’d pay to get back the original version of the game that didn’t nag you to buy their other products after you already paid for everything. Had 3 or 4 variations, but have since deleted them all. Now they’re all too complicated, instead of just fun.

    1. Yeah these in-app purchases suck. The developers realize most folks end up paying a LOT more money to play the game and of course the developers realize it. The days of paying $5-10 for a good game are probably fading fast and I for one am sad to see them go. I’ve tried several games that are “free” but it quickly becomes apparent the only way you can really progress is to purchase all the in-app crap. Disappointing.

      1. There was a game I was playing recently and chatting with other folks and found out that many of them had paid hundreds and thousands of $$$ in in-app purchases. Unbelievable what folks will pay for virtual stuff.

    2. Nagging to buy “extras” the affect the game’s playability earned Angry Birds deletion from both my computer and iPad. Sell the full package without the incessant nagging at a reasonable price, or permanently say goodbye to my business.

    1. Very sound advice.

      Given Angry Birds history They maybe the only ones able to determine which model is really more profitable. I am the type of gamer that will not buy IAP with one exception. I have unlocked levels in Candy Crush. I was impatient waiting for FB friends to send tickets and really enjoyed the game and wanted to give them $.99 for the work they did. I am up to level 430 and have probably spent $20 over the past year. For other titles I’ll play until you really can’t play anymore unless you pay.

  2. Their new cart racing game is fun to play at first, but I made it to the third level before I realized I don’t want to pump money into this game just to have decent cars to race.

    I hope freemium is a fad, but I thought the same thing about reality TV.

  3. The original Angry Birds was awesome. Simple, creative, fun, and I was totally happy to pay a buck (or was it two?). Felt like the good old days of gaming. Now it’s just littered with click bait. I don’t know if it is a game or spam.

    1. I believe at each level in the cart game the cars start at $1.99 and run up to $49.95. I know they have a small group of players that will shell out for the high end cars, but ONE car that you’ll use for ONE level shouldn’t cost almost as much as a new console game.

      The Simpsons Tapped Out has similar pricing if you want to get all the items in game.

  4. Consensus here seems to be: Ads suck. Don’t want Angry Birds anymore because of them. Would rather pay for the game with no ads, but even that is no longer an option, so say “no” to Angry Birds.

    I’m good with all of that. Literally upvoted every comment. 🙂

    1. I could live with ads and paying a few dollars for the app in the beginning. As it is now, there’s ads in the cart game, but looking at them or clicking them provides no in-game currency.

  5. Freemium apps are slowly driving the casual gamer away. Do the math and it’s absurd. I’m certainly not against paying for a good game. But, I am opposed to paying an unfair price for a game. If your game has a ‘super bundle of gems’ that costs $99 but still doesn’t unlock everything in the game… your cost to play is way out of line.

    Diablo III = $50 (console, Mac, PC)
    Dungeon Hunter 4 = >$200 (easily)

    You don’t have to be a mathematician to start adding up the slow nickel and dime trickle to these ‘freemium’ games. In the example above, Gameloft (DH4) flashes so many opportunities to buy better gear & weapons it’s disgusting.

    Another example would be Battle Nations. A competitive player can easily spend *hundreds* on Nanopods to play the game which has plenty of opportunity as new ‘special’ and ‘limited time’ units are available with regularity.

    Bottom line, Freemium is out of control. Nobody ever though apps on the iPhone/iPad would end up costing as much or more than console games. Now, they far exceed that cost.

    1. Totally agree. You described Game of War perfectly too. Tons of annoying flashing click bait to buy shit. And the super bundles of $99 that don’t really do that much for you but of course you need if you have any hope of progressing in the game. The freemium model really sucks but unfortunately there are probably enough people out there wasting their money on this to make it a viable biz model.

      1. One would assume that if you bought the…say… $50 super bundle, you would unlock everything and have unlimited play. It’s unfortunate that’s not the case. The ‘freemium’ model serves the game developer, not the consumer.

        I believe this could hurt Apple (AAPL) in the long run, as the iPad becomes less a gaming device and more a web-surfing tool. At that point, there are many less expensive web-surfing options.

        (also in Austin)

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