Photo: Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider
Rovio’s game Angry Birds has had 700 million downloads so far, but it’s much more than a game company. Rovio’s new game, Angry Birds Space, launches tomorrow with a Walmart partnership for all merchandise related to Angry Birds at thousands of stores.
It’s the first franchise to launch since Angry Birds, Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka said during a discussion at IGNITION West.
For the launch of Rovio’s new space game, it teamed up with NASA and National Geographic.
“It’s not just the launch of a game, it’s the launch of a franchise. It’s bigger than most movie launches in Hollywood. Rovio is one of the first brands to launch from the digital to the physical world,” he said.
Rovio turned down a $2 billion acquisition offer from Zynga last year. On stage, Vestabacka said the company’s role model is Disney, a $74 billion company, but that its goal is to be “much bigger.”
That’s ambitious! Disney does $28 billion in merchandise sales annually. Mickey Mouse alone accounts for $9 billion.
Vestabacka said if Walt Disney were getting his start today, he’d do it in games, not cartoons. Vestabacka says Disney’s company would probably be more like Rovio, not Zynga.
“Zynga is a game company. We stopped looking at ourselves as a game company. We sold 25 million plush toys last year. For us, it’s about making Angry Birds available everywhere,” Vesterbacka said.
“You go shopping in China, you see Angry Birds everywhere. We are the most copied brand in China, which means we are the most loved brand. We aren’t advocating piracy… but we have millions of Chinese people who love Angry Birds,” he said.
Angry Birds has grown faster than Google, Skype, Facebook, and Skype, said Business Insider Nicholas Carlson, who moderated the panel.
This is what Vesterbacka told us before he went on-stage.