Angry Birds, the next Mickey Mouse?

Thu May 19, 2011 10:03am EDT
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By Georgina Prodhan

PARIS (Reuters) - Mikael Hed is unrepentant about the 200 million minutes per day that people around the world fritter away playing Angry Birds, the iPhone game created by the company he heads.

"It's great. Think of all the other stuff they could be doing that's so much more boring," said the chief executive of Rovio Mobile, a Finnish start-up almost unheard of before it unleashed the addictive game on an unsuspecting world in 2009.

Angry Birds, the most popular paid-for game in the Apple App Store's four-year history, has just passed 200 million downloads.

The deceptively simple puzzle game in which players use a slingshot to fire birds at green pigs hiding in buildings has hooked a whole new audience, many of whom were never interested in video games before.

"These new touchscreen portable devices have changed the way that people behave. Nowadays, people have to be entertained all the time, whenever you have just a few moments spare," Hed told the Reuters Global Technology Summit in Paris this week.

"Much of those 200 million minutes comes from this type of micro spare time, filling the little gaps."

Rovio plans to use its hold over of those millions of spare moments as a wedge to expand into Hollywood and possibly even Disney-style theme parks.

"Believe it or not, we have had such suggestions, and I believe Angry Birds Land was actually the name they used."   Continued...

<p>Rovio Chief Executive Mikael Hed stands in front of an Angry Birds poster at his company's offices in Helsinki August 16, 2010. REUTERS/Georgina Prodhan</p>