Finnish video game developer Rovio Entertainment struck gold when it launched the original version of Angry Birds in 2009. It was a game that launched with perfect timing, and a near-prescient idea of how to entice casual mobile gamers. Angry Birds sparked a revolution, and its popularity led to a variety of sequels, including tie-in media like TV shows, and blockbuster animated films. Now, more than a decade after launching, major change is on the way for the franchise.
As announced by Rovio, the ‘definitive’ version of Angry Birds, currently available on iOS and Android devices as Rovio Classics: Angry Birds, will be delisted from the Google Play store on 23 February 2023.
‘We have reviewed the business case of Rovio Classics: Angry Birds, and due to the game’s impact on our wider games portfolio, we have decided that [it] will be unlisted from the Google Play Store on Thursday, February 23,’ the company said on Twitter. ‘[It] will remain playable on devices on which the game has been downloaded, even after it has been unlisted.’
‘We understand that this is sad news for many fans, as well as the team that has worked hard to make Rovio Classics: Angry Birds a reality … We hope those fans can continue to bring that passion to our live Angry Birds slingshot games such as Angry Birds 2, Angry Birds Friends, and Angry Birds Journey.’
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In addition to removal from Google Play, the classic version of Angry Birds will also be renamed on the Apple App Store, becoming ‘Red’s First Flight‘.
An exact reason for the removal on Google Play has not been revealed – but given the ‘business case’ cited here, it seems the original game, which currently retails for just AU $1.79 with no microtransactions, is more popular than newer Rovio products.
Further clarification shared by Buck, Senior Brand and Community Development Manager at Rovio, on Discord seems to confirm this. According to a screenshot shared on Twitter, the original version of Angry Birds is ‘negatively impacting [Rovio’s] other games … If those other games do not improve and grow, then the outlook of the entire company changes.’
Going forward, Rovio is pushing players to try newer Angry Birds releases, which expand the main gameplay and offer new modes, but also add in microtransactions that impact the overall experience. Mobile games rely on a constant flow of revenue to stay live, and it appears Rovio is now looking for new ways to enhance its offerings and tempt players over to its more lucrative games.
Those keen to own a copy of the original Angry Birds on the Google Play store have until 23 February 2023 to purchase it. After this date, it will be removed. For now, the Apple App Store version will remain live under the ‘Red’s First Flight‘ moniker.