Angry Birds is feathering its nest with merchandise, heralding a possible trend among app developers to raise new revenues in old- school ways. The Finnish companyThe Finnish company behind the blockbuster mobile video game announced a $19.99 (U.S.) cookbook spinoff featuring the evil, egg-stealing pigs that spurred the wrath of the game’s avians. The full-colour, hardcover Bad Piggies’ Egg Recipes, set to be published on Thursday, looks like it flew off the kiddie menu at an all-day breakfast joint. Each recipe is illustrated with a villainously green porker. There’s even a list of “pointless activities” at the back — presumably no more useful than playing the online game in the first place.
As the original No. 1 game app in the world, Angry Birds has inspired a huge merchandise catalogue that includes flip flops ($19.99), plush toys, shoulder bags, phone cases, socks, silk ties ($49.99), a backpack ($79.99) and Halloween costumes sized for the whole family. Peter Vesterbacka, head of marketing and business development at Angry Birds’ parent, Rovio Mobile, announced in July that the Finnish firm would open at least 100 bricks-and-mortar retail outlets in China, catering exclusively to merchandise. In the first half of 2011, 300 million people downloaded an Angry Birds app to their mobile device. Vesterbacka told Shanghai Daily that he expects 100 million more downloads this year in mainland China alone. Merchandise spinoffs have been part of movie and television marketing campaigns for decades. Branded tchotchkes and costumes are visible everywhere at hardcore gamers’ fan expos.
So far, however, app developers have been slow to cash in on the potential to reach out to fans’ wallets with merchandise. Game app Mignore offers illustrated coffee mugs online. Pocket God sells a 3-D plastic figurine of its anguished deity. Other arrivals are pending. Websites for the Tiny Wings and Cut the Rope game apps point to the launch of plush toys, but neither has posted any dates. On Friday, analysts at Berg Insight in Sweden forecast there would be 98 billion app downloads worldwide by 2015. This would represent $12 billion in sales directly from app stores that year. Angry Birds Merchandise