GDC 2011: Rovio Hits Back At Nintendo App Comments

GDC 2011: Rovio Hits Back At Nintendo App Comments

Angry Birds publisher Rovio has hit back at Nintendo’s recent comments about “candidly disposable” mobile games, saying its bird-flinging smash hit is anything but a throwaway distraction.

At Rovio’s GDC session, Angry Birds: An Entertainment Franchise in the Making, executive Peter Vesterbacka said the firm did not see its game as disposable at all because of how frequently it was updated.

“There were comments by Nintendo that 99¢ games are destroying the industry and making games disposable,” he said. “We don’t regard Angry Birds as disposable content. That’s why every few weeks we update the game: more levels, more content.

“When you look at the pricing, there’s no denying it: 99¢ is the App Store price,” he continued. “But true value comes from updating. Games today are more about turning something static into a service. Websites that never get updated aren’t usually very popular. Ones that always shift are.”

Vesterbacka was responding to comments made early last month by Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, who said: “I think that one of the biggest risks today in our industry are those inexpensive games that are candidly disposable from a consumer standpoint. I think they actually create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be two dollars.”

Vesterbacka believes that a vital component of Angry Birds’ success – it is now closing in on 100 million downloads – is Rovio’s attitude to its fans. “Though game publishers and studios say that social media is a really important element to its business, at Rovio we really mean it,” he said. “We try to read and respond to every letter, every email and every Tweet we get.”