Tag Archives | Angry Birds

Angry Birds to Get the NFC Treatment

And you thought near-field communication (NFC) was just for mobile payments! Angry Birds developer Rovio said Tuesday that it will incorporate the technology into a future release of the game.

Called “Magic Places,” the feature will unlock functionality or new game levels when two NFC-enabled phones are tapped together, or a gameplayer visits a certain location, say company executives.

According to GigaOm’s Ryan Kim, Rovio has plans to use the “Magic Places” functionality across all its games. However, with the game now passing 200 million downloads, its a good place to start. The goal is to make the game a more social experience, and using technologies like NFC and GPS (also apparently planned) will accomplish that.

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Watch Out, Game Consoles, Here Comes Roku and Angry Birds

There once was a time when if you wanted to play video games on a TV, you’d hook up a video game console. But as televisions and set-top boxes become powerful enough to stream video and host their own app stores, they’re also becoming capable gaming devices.

The latest example is Roku’s announcement that it’ll get Angry Birds, among other games, on a new set-top box unit this summer. Angry Birds will get its own channel, with all the games plus animated shorts and merchandise for sale.

Yes, it’s Angry Birds overload, but that’s beside the point. What matters here is that game developers — particularly those who aren’t part of the traditional console business — are making their way to televisions without the help of Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo. Instead, they’re just going straight to the source. A month ago, I was at a Panasonic press event where the company demonstrated Asphalt 5, a racing game that’s already popular on smartphones and tablets. It’s available on Panasonic TVs as part of a big partnership with developer Gameloft.

Of course, TVs and set-tops still need to solve the controller issue before they can become genuine game machines. No one wants to use a TV remote to play a racing game or a shooter (I chuckled when someone tried to do it at the aforementioned Panasonic event), and Roku hasn’t explained how it will approach this issue with its new hardware.

But that’s not an unsolvable problem. Already, smartphones and tablets provide a more natural input method for televisions, either through infrared or connected apps from TV makers. It’s not a stretch to imagine phones and tablets controlling video games as well. Once that happens, game console makers can really start worrying.


Angry Birds’ Next Conquest, and Biggest Challenge, is Facebook

Although Angry Birds got its start on the iPhone, it didn’t linger there for long. The hit bird-slinging puzzle game has since migrated to Android, iPad, WebOS, Windows, Mac and the Playstation Network.

Next up is Facebook, where Angry Birds will be landing later this year, according to Develop. And because of the game’s existing popularity — it’s been downloaded 75 million times on other platforms, and some pundits have compared its cultural impact to Pac-Man — Angry Birds has a decent shot at stealing the Facebook gaming throne from Zynga, developer of Farmville, Cityville and Mafia Wars.

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A Christmas Without Angry Birds

Demand for smartphone game developer Rovio’s Angry Birds plush toys has been so great that order fulfillment is flying past the holiday season, and customer service is in the pigpen.

Angry Birds has taken smartphone gaming by storm, so much so that it is even drawing comparisons to the venerable Pac-Man franchise. Rovio has been a savvy marketeer of its feathered protagonists with holiday themed editions of the game, and, most recently, plush toys.

Enter Murphy’s Law: Rovio has dramatically underestimated demand. Customers are reporting having paid with the expectation of shipment during the holiday season only to be told that their expectations have flown the coop. Orders will not be fulfilled until January.

Customers that contacted Rovio received this e-mail, “Due to unforeseen demand for Angry Birds plush toys, our logistics and customer service have been overwhelmed and we have not been able to respond promptly to all queries. If you have already contacted us regarding your order, our staff is working on the case to resolve any problems and you will receive a reply at the earliest opportunity.”

Let’s hope that its customers don’t own any human-sized slingshots.