Angry Birds has toppled competitors on the iOS and Android leaderboards. But can it do the same on Facebook?
In an interview, Peter Vesterbacka, from the game’s maker Rovio, stressed that the company is taking a very deliberate approach with bringing its smash hit to the Facebook platform. It’s been working on the game, which is set to launch in May, for about a year and it’s one of the largest internal projects in the company.
The title will have new social and viral mechanics and likely extend the company’s experiments with virtual goods. Angry Birds currently offers a Mighty Eagle virtual good, which users can pay for to pass challenging levels in the game. He wouldn’t reveal exactly how the game will be different, but it will be in beta in mid-April.
Like many social gaming companies who have tried to move from the Facebook platform to mobile, going in the reverse direction is also challenging. Popcap Games has been the one exceptional success with Bejeweled Blitz, although others like Bolt Creative have tried with titles like Pocket God. Glu Mobile is a more recent entrant; it brought its popular action title Gun Bros to Facebook earlier this year.
“You can’t take an experience that works in one environment and one ecosystem and force-feed it onto another,” he said. “It’s like Zynga. They can’t just take Farmville and throw it on mobile and see what sticks. The titles that have been successful for them on mobile are the ones they’ve built from the ground up for the platform.”
In the long-run, Rovio, will be move to HTML5 like other game developers. Interestingly enough though, Vesterbacka said Angry Birds is now making as much money from Android as it is from iOS. (You can read more about that here.)