Angry Birds, the phenomenally successful mobile game, inspires love, hate, envy and hope. With hundreds of thousands of games and games app, the competition in the mobile app market is fierce. Only a few games make it to the top of the table, while most games are consigned to oblivion. Mobile developers around the world marvel at the success of Angry birds, they are envious of the incredible popularity this seemingly bizarre game as found, they hate Rivio for being so lucky, and they hope that some of the games do one-tenth as well as Angry Birds.
Success of Angry birds has also bred contempt. Many say that the game is a rip off of Crush the Castle. Grumpy developers like to attribute the success of Angry Birds to pure luck. But clearly, the mobile game developers at Rivio got something right. In addition to luck, there must have been many other factors that helped Angry Birds fly and perch on the top of the iPhone games list. Let’s try and work out what Rivio did right, and let’s see what we can learn from the success of Angry Birds.
1. Timing is Important
Launched in 2009, the first version of Angry Birds was in the perfect position to make the most of iPhone’s growing popularity. The game was specially created for the iPhone and it was free. This increased the chances of the games success. The fact that there weren’t too many mobile-specific games in the market at that point of time also help propel the game to the top spot on Apple’s App Store.
While mobile game developers cannot go back in time and do things right, but there is another way of benefiting from timing. Releasing games during festivals or seasons when people have a lot of time to spend browsing their mobile is an idea that can work for everyone.
2. Publicity Rocks
Angry Birds rode a giant wave of word-of-mouth publicity in the weeks after it was launched. The ball really started rolling after a famous Swedish skier talked about the game on a talk show. This started a lot of people talking about the game, and within a few months it got a lot of coverage in newspapers, new channels and radio shows. A chance remark by a celebrity made the game a household name in America. Needless to say, Angry Bird downloads skyrocket as a result of all this.
While it may not be possible for every mobile game developer to get this kind of publicity, it is important to get people talking about your game before it is launched. Make sure that top gaming sites review your game and try innovative methods of getting celebrity endorsement.
3. Simplicity Pulls Crowds
Angry Birds was released at a time when iPhones were selling like hot cakes, but still weren’t ubiquitous. One of the main reasons behind the success of the iPhone is how simply users can perform complex tasks on the phone. Just as the intuitiveness of iPhone worked wonders, the simplicity and approachability of Angry Birds made it a hit among gamers as well as non-gamers. Anyone, irrespective of their age, sex, or gaming background, could pick up their phones and start playing the game in five seconds flat.
If you’re developing a game for mobile, you could do worse than create a simple game that doesn’t require too much effort from the users. While genre games targeted at specific users can also do well, a general game that is fun and entertaining can appeal to a broader mass of users.
4. Humor Sells
The mechanics of Crush the Castle and Angry Birds are almost identical. But the only people who’ve hard about Crush the Castle know it because of the rumors that Angry Birds is a copy of the game. But if you look at the two games you’ll realize that Angry Birds has a bizarre concept and quirky imagery. This compels the users to enjoy the game. What would you prefer to do? Kill people in a castle using a trebuchet or destroy some pigs by shooting angry birds from a slingshot?
Infusing a game with humor and character can set it apart from the competition. It can help you rise above the clamor of other games and appeal to mobile users who are looking for something new.
5. Determination & Staying Power are Mandatory
If you look at the cold hard fact, mobile games development may not help you rake in the moolah. For every hit game like Angry Birds, there are 51 games that are not that successful. Why 51 games? Because that is the number of games Rivio developed before it hit the jackpot with Angry Birds! This game became successful suddenly, but it was backed by years of hard work and experience.
If you want to make it big in the mobile gaming world, you’ll have to wait for you success. The success of a mobile game hinges on too many factors, and you will need a little bit of luck and a lot of determination and staying power to succeed.
What do the Angry Birds teach us?
Once Angry Birds succeeded, Rivio had two choices: it could have tried developing new games or added expansion packs to its most successful game ever. It chose the latter path. Not only are there several version and additions to the Angry Birds now, but there’s all kinds of Angry Birds merchandise in the market. Angry Birds is one of the few games that were originally built for mobile but found their way to PCs and consoles.
It may not be possible to develop a game by imitation Rivio (because too many things needs to go right for such success), but you can take home a few lessons from Angry Birds: games with a dash of humor, a lot of simplicity, smart publicity and right timing can make a dent in the mobile universe.
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