Back in December 2009 a little game known as Angry Birds flew onto the Apple App Store.
Combining cute, colourful characters with fiendishly addictive gameplay, the title was applauded by gamers and non-gamers the world over for its unique feel in a fast-growing market.
To date, the game has been downloaded 500m times across plenty of platforms, from Android mobiles to the PlayStation Network, netting Rovio hundreds of millions of pounds in the process.
Although several new titles have been released since, they have all retained the simple gameplay: catapulting wingless birds to destroy all pigs in as few moves as possible.
The Angry Birds name is often associated with the rise of casual gaming, 69p apps and the market for downloadable titles. But it hasn’t forgotten the retail space, with merchandise, toys – and now the game itself hitting shelves, courtesy of PC publisher Focus Multimedia.
The fact that retailers can now sell the game presents them with a huge opportunity, and one that Focus is eager to help them capitalise on.
“Angry Birds is one of the most popular games in the world, ever. It’s the benchmark by which other games are measured,” says Focus Multimedia’s PR and marketing manager Alan Wild.
“There are few titles that boast this kind of retail strength. Clearly positioned and communicated, Angry Birds is an easy purchase for consumers and an excellent proposition for any retailer to actively drive sales.
”With its budget SRP of £10.20, Angry Birds is finally giving retailers the chance to be a central part of its worldwide domination."
With 500m downloads worldwide, Angry Birds is the most downloaded title ever. But it’s not just a game – the franchise has branched out into merchandise too. There’s also a film and TV series in the works.
Retailers already have access to a number of Angry Birds soft toys. Developer Rovio has also launched T-shirts, bags, costumes, stationery, masks and more which are available from its online store.
The mobile game phenomenon is getting its own chain of High Street stores. The first has already opened in Finland, while Rovio has plans to open several in China in a bid to combat piracy and unofficial merchandise.
Focus Multimedia dominated the budget market last month, achieving its largest ever market share in one month. It accounted for 31.4 per cent of all budget PC software sales in terms of units, according to GfK Chart-Track.