There have been few transformations as dramatic as that experienced by Angry Birds. But how did Rovio do it?
The person to ask is Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka, the man who has pushed the franchise forward over the last year.
His job title is ‘Mighty Eagle’. That humoured name actually means day-to-day biz dev and franchise management. Plus, fittingly, he spends a chunk of his life in the air on planes, travelling to speak at conferences or meet movie execs.
Vesterbacka wasn’t part of the team when the game first launched, but joined a year ago as Angry Birds started going from ‘game’ to ‘game phenomenon’. It needed that ‘eagle’ figure to spread the brand’s wings – and the former HP exec swooped in.
“I originally only committed a few days a month,” he says.
“Yet we realised quickly that it needed lots of work – more than anyone had thought. I said we’re going to make 100m downloads, and at that point we had only 3m downloads. They thought I was crazy. But now we are there. It’s insane. We only hit 50m in December, to show you how fast it’s accelerating. We hit 100m before I thought we would.”
What proved the catapult game’s success was more than a short-term fling? “Simple things,” he says. “People would stop me and have a picture taken just because I was carrying some Angry Birds stuff.”
To read MCV's full Angry Birds feature, click here.