Peter Vesterbacka, the lead developer at Rovio Mobile, also known as the Mighty Eagle, recently did an email interview with Tech N Marketing magazine. It’s important to point out that this was an email interview because with email interviewers (which we do for our 10 Questions Segments) allow the interviewee plenty of time to research, and think out their answers.
Unless you’ve been living under a football stadium than you are well aware that the hit game Angry Birds has taken off across both iPhone and Android. Angry Birds has been downloaded over 50 million times since it’s release across all platforms. It’s also been revealed that people are playing the addicting game over 200 million minutes a day across the world. Put your 10 fingers down, that’s A LOT.
Technmarketing.com asked Vesterbacka about the future of mobile OS’s and his response was:
“Apple will be the number one platform for a long time from a developer perspective, they have gotten so many things right. And they know what they are doing and they call the shots. Android is growing, but it’s also growing complexity at the same time. Device fragmentation not the issue, but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android.
There has been a lot of criticism about paid apps on the Android platform and whether or not they actually work. Currently 57% of the apps on the Android market are free and account for 98.9% of the downloads. So from a new developers stand point it would be fair to say that yes there is a little bit of a problem with paid apps.
However Rovio is not a new developer of any sort. They’ve been in the mobile game business since 2003 and have produced more than 50+ games for all their partners across multiple platforms. That’s why this statement from Vesterbacka is a bit disturbing. I’m sure Rovio has spent some time researching the best monetization strategy for Angry Birds. Should they sell the game out right like they did on iPhone and iPad or should they do a more ad based model as they’ve done with Android. Currently Angry Birds on an iPhone is $.99 while the iPad version is $4.99. Android on the other hand, is free.
In leiu of making Android owners pay for Angry Birds, there is an ad box that appears in the corners of the game. It’s actually a bit annoying.
So what’s wrong with Vesterbacka’s statement? Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, however he made that statement based on Angry Birds not any other app and without testing a paid version first. Vesterbacka also doesn’t mention the fact that Rovio is anticipating making a million dollars per month of their advertising stream. Of course people are going to download Angry Birds for free but Vesterbacka and Rovio didn’t give Android users the opportunity to buy it for $.99 as they did on iPhone.
As the weeks led up to the Angry Birds release to Android many people were speculating what they would charge for Android users and seemed to be ready to pay for it.
Now from a developer standpoint if they were developing new apps and games and didn’t have a mega blockbuster on their hands to sell or not to sell or to charge or not to charge, would be a fair question…