Pigs’ revenge as ‘Angry Birds’ makers launch new game

Angry Birds mooncakes based on the worldwide hit game by Finnish entertainment media company Rovio are displayed at a restaurant in Singapore. Rovio is to launch a new title allowing users to play as the “Bad Piggies” from the smash-hit game, and take revenge on the birds who attacked them with slingshots.

“Angry Birds” maker Rovio is to launch a new title on Thursday allowing users to play as the “Bad Piggies” from the smash-hit game, and take revenge on the birds who attacked them with slingshots.

Rovio Asia senior vice president Henri Holm said the new game would be launched in the Taiwanese capital Taipei in the first of a series of global events.

“We picked Taiwan because there is a very strong following for Angry Birds,” he told AFP.

“Angry Birds” involves using slingshots to launch little birds at fortresses built by green pigs — an absurd, addictive game that became the world’s most-downloaded app, and spawned a franchise of merchandise and media tie-ins.

It helped the Finland-based Rovio turn a profit of 48 million euros ($60 million) in 2011, on sales of 75.4 million euros, but follow-up titles have not met with the same success and interest in the original game is slowly declining.

In July, the company launched a new title, “Amazing Alex”, which debuted at number one on the iPhone Top Apps chart but has since dropped out of the top 100.

Analysts said that Rovio, which is planning an initial public offering some time next year, is hoping “Bad Piggies” could help renew interest in the franchise by extending the original game’s universe.

“Bad Piggies will make Angry Birds more than just a game. It will create stories for fans and give depth to the popular app,” said I.C. Jan, from Taipei-based venture capital company appWorks Venture.

Jan said the new game is part of the company’s efforts to pave way for the IPO, including the establishment of the world’s first “Angry Birds” theme park in Helsinki in May, followed by another one in Britain in August.

“The company knows that it has to integrate the virtual and physical worlds after an unexpected huge success in the virtual front since 2009,” he said.

Founded in 2003, Rovio said earlier this year that it plans to seek a stock market listing by the end of 2013. It has previously mentioned New York and Hong Kong as possible exchanges for the IPO.

“Bad Piggies” will be launched on iOS, Android and Mac on Thursday, and versions for Windows Phone, Windows 8 and PCs will follow at a later date, the company said. AFP

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