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Rovio 'Betting Everything' On  Angry Birds , Targeting 1 Billion Fans

Rovio 'Betting Everything' On Angry Birds, Targeting 1 Billion Fans

July 20, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka says his company is "betting everything" on the ultra-popular Angry Birds brand, saying he'd like it to be "the first entertainment brand with a billion fans."

Speaking at the Casual Connect conference in Seattle (as reported by VentureBeat), Vesterbacka said reaching such levels of popularity would "take us two or three years to do." The goal, Vesterbacka said, was to make Angry Birds in to a long-term brand on par with Mario or Mickey Mouse.

Included in Vesterbacka's plans for growth is a hope to become China's most popular entertainment brand by next year, he said, with planned launches across a number of Chinese mobile devices and even a flagship store devoted to Angry Birds merchandise.

Angry Birds officially launched in China in May through a partnership with Chinese mobile games network Downjoy. But sales from such official efforts in the highly-populated country are likely dwarfed by derivative knock-offs and pirated versions on jailbroken iPhones.

Vesterbacka addressed this concern at the conference, saying the only way to fight it was with quality. "Instead of sending lawyers, we are building products," he said.

As for putting all the company's eggs in a single Angry Birds basket, Vesterbacka said he realized Rovio was unlikely to create another product that had such an immense impact.

"Game makers buy into their own bullshit," he said. "You think you can make hit after hit. We know how hard it is to do that, so we are betting everything on Angry Birds."

The Angry Birds games have been downloaded 250 million times as of June, with over 100 million monthly active users spending 200 million minutes a day on the titles.

Licensed plush toys based on the characters have sold over 2 million units, according to the company, and the games are being developed for everything from an animated series to a cook book, "Bad Piggies Secret Egg Recipes."

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