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LeWeb: Angry Birds, Happy Business

Mikael Hed

That bizarre image of our host dressed up as the most basic of the Angry Birds had a purpose: it was setting the scene for the arrival of Mikael Hed, CEO, Rovio, the people who are stealing away our lives in avian/porcine conflict…

There was a little background on the game, and its roots in sketches for an entirely different game, and its growth to ubiquity. The differing business model of Android versus iPhone apps seems to have been as much an access of accessibility as anything. On iPhone, you have to have an iTunes account to manage the device, so that’s an easy route to the market. The app store ecosystem is more complex, and the free-plus-ads seems to make it easier to get the game onto people’s devices – and it was a gamble that has paid off financially for them.

It’s interesting, because as much as Angry Birds has become a cultural phenomenon, there hasn’t been much evidence that Hed has a clear idea why that might be. Even the sell-out success of soft toys based on the game seems to have caught them by surprise. If anything, they seem to be leaving it to partners to build revenue from merchandise, while they continue to expand the platforms the game is available on. For example, he’s taking about consoles and downloadable content as a major target for next year.

Fun talk, but in the end, Angry Birds is Angry Birds, and phenomenons are rarely repeatable.

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Le Web 3 ’07: Playin’ Games

Well, as an example he showed a video of a Molten Core raid, a challenging adventure in the game that requires 40 people to complete, and usually takes many hour spread over a week. (To the WoW players out there, sorry for the simplistic description and yes, I know that it's an old skool raid now Burning Crusade has been with us for the best part of a year, but I guess Ito's been giving variations of this presentation for a while now.)

... The open voice channels guilds use to communicate in the game are also a good example of the useful skills that come out of these environments.

... The "dashboard" displays that people create using add-ons to the game are, according to players in the Ito's guild We Know who are active members of the military, are often superior to those found in real weapons systems.

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The way to an edited RPG review blog?

A voice from the distant past on Wraith-l resurfaces to reply to my comments on RPG reviewing made some time ago.

Lea responds to my ideas thus:

Adam argues for "a single source of good, edited, commissioned reviews run by skilled people and provided by a team of experienced gamers and writers." I'm not sure this is practical. It takes time and effort to deliver the kind of analysis that Adam wants, something that few experienced gamers and writers, with many other calls on their time, would be able to commit to.

That's not to say that few people could or would deliver good reviews or criticism. The problem with Adam's proposal, I think, is that it puts the onus on a small circle of people. If the community wants "Basements and Bugbears" reviewed, the editors have to commission someone to review "Basements and Bugbears." This is hard work for both the editors and the reviewer

This is, of course, the main argument for a professional RPG mag, with a team of writers who are paid for their work. However, since the RPG market seems determined to make such an enterprise completely unprofitable, that isn't going to happen. Luckily, Lea has a technology-based solution to the social problem at work here.

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