After hundreds of levels, millions of hours played, billions of birds slung and popped pigs, and four mobile games inspired by construction sites, mines, the seasons and holidays, Rio, space, and most recently the Star Wars universe -- whew -- today marks the third anniversary of the first Angry Birds game on iOS.
On Tuesday, Angry Birds makers Rovio Entertainment celebrated its third "birdday" with a slew of new additions to its original game.
"Happy Birdday! Can you believe that Angry Birds is turning three? We sure can't!" Rovio wrote. "Celebrate with 30 NEW LEVELS, birdday cake, and the bubbliest bird ever -- Pink Bird! But watch out for the cake -- it's not a lie, but it packs a BIG punch!"
The new update, Angry Birds 3.0, invites users to "party with 15 new 'Birdday Party' levels and some EXPLOSIVELY delicious cake." The game also includes 15 new levels inspired by Rovio's spin-off game "Bad Piggies," and also introduces the franchise's Pink Bird to the game for the first time, which can lift structures and pigs off the ground by exploding into a cloud of effervescent bubbles.
The 3.0 update, which is free on any iPhone, iPad, or Android device that has already purchased the game, also finally adds support to the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen.
The Angry Birds franchise has soared since its debut on iOS back in 2009. Rovio says Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 1 billion times, making it the most downloaded video game of any kind, all-time.
The Finland-based company, speaking at the Slush 2011 event in Helsinki last December, also claimed Angry Birds is the No. 1 game in at least 79 countries. As of December 2011, users had played 266 billion levels and shot 400 billion birds. Gamers worldwide had played the game for 300 million minutes daily, amounting to a grand total beyond 200,000 years.
Even though Rovio is continuing to dream up plenty of games and new Angry Birds experiences -- last month's "Angry Birds Star Wars" has been a major hit in its early goings -- the company continues to find new ways to market its wingless and irritable cartoon birds.
Besides the heavy focus on merchandise and plush toys, Rovio has been focusing on making Angry Birds a true multimedia experience with spin-off games, books, and now a second life on the silver screen. Further celebrating its third "birdday," the company just announced Tuesday that it will be financing an "Angry Birds" movie itself, which will be produced by animation vet John Cohen and Marvel alum David Maisel.
“John’s an exceptionally talented producer, and we’re delighted to have him join the flock,” said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment. “With John’s hands-on producer background and David´s expertise in establishing and running his own successful studio, these two are the dream team for making a movie outside the studio system. Both professionals have the ideal skills and vision to achieve incredible things.”
“I’m so excited and honored to be working on this film with Mikael, David, and Rovio’s incredibly talented game developers and artists,” said Cohen. “From both an entertainment and strategic perspective, Rovio is at the forefront of game innovation and is trailblazing terrific new ways for Angry Birds fans to interact with these characters. I've personally spent countless hours playing the Angry Birds games over the last few years, which I can now happily justify as research for the movie."
Rovio once reportedly turned down an acquisition offer from Zynga worth $2.25 billion in cash and stock.