Wonderful Pistachios and Rovio Entertainment's flagship game Angry Birds have joined forces once again, this time creating the first fully-branded Angry Birds game called The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio.
The game is playable on Wonderful Pistachio's website, GetCrackin.com, and requires a Google Chrome browser to work. The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio plays like any other Angry Birds game, where players must use a slingshot to launch multi-colored birds at structures populated by evil green pigs. The one difference in the new game is that players must also crack open pistachios in addition to pummeling the pigs.
Wonderful Pistachios is giving players the chance to win $300,000 in prizes, which range from free pistachios to $25,000 in cash. The prizes are only available for a limited time, as the promotion will end on Jan. 1, 2012.
The game is the second collaboration between Angry Birds and Wonderful Pistachios. The first meeting was featured in a September commercial for Wonderful Pistachio's two-year-old Get Crackin campaign. In recent months, the campaign has featured a number of surprising cameos with viral value, including Snooki from MTV's Jersey Shore, the Winklevoss twins, celebrity couple Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom, Kermit the Frog, and the Keyboard Cat and honey badger of YouTube fame.
Rovio has worked with promotional partners before, but a company rep says The Hunt for the Golden Pistachio is the first game built with the advertiser in mind from day one. In January, Rovio released a mobile game called Angry Birds Rio, which featured characters from the animated 20th Century Fox film.
The Finland-based company has been growing in size to accommodate the high demand for Angry Birds products, and has been exploring various avenues in merchandise and retail. The company has developed a long line of Angry Birds-themed toys, apparel, accessories, board games, and most recently released its first cookbook. Rovio also announced it will open up its first Angry Birds store in Helsinki, with plans to open up shops in China, which is Rovio's second-largest and fastest-growing market for Angry Birds.
We're insanely profitable, said Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka. We are very, very profitable. We're not a publicly traded company yet but we can fund our own growth.
News came out recently that Rovio was offered $2.25 billion this summer to be acquired by social gaming company Zynga, but turned down the offer. The company hopes to go public in maybe a year from now, according to Vesterbacka.
We're still building a lot of our infrastructure, our company, our platform, everything, Vesterbacka said. There's a lot of good discipline in having to be ready to go public.
Rovio most recently received $42 million in March, from investors including Accel Partners and Niklas Zennstrom's Atomico Ventures. Rovio CEO Mikael Hed said it's very possible the company would have another funding round before going public. The company aims to raise $1 billion to achieve a valuation between $10 billion and $20 billion, and reportedly made $90.6 million in profit in 2010. Zynga's IPO was originally slated for earlier this year, but the company opted to delay its own IPO in August.
Angry Birds has become the fastest growing game in history, scoring 500 million downloads in less than two years since its December 2009 release, the most for any game all-time. The game is the top rated game in 79 countries. Gamers worldwide play the game on Android and iOS devices for 300 million minutes daily, which amounts to a grand total of 200,000 years.