Angry Birds developer says piracy brings in more business

By on January 31, 2012, 4:30 PM

Rovio Mobile says it has learned a thing or two about piracy from the music industry -- namely, how not to deal with it. The Finnish developer behind the wildly popular Angry Birds franchise was at the Midem conference in Cannes yesterday, where its chief executive Mikael Hed told an audience that "piracy may not be a bad thing" and that it can actually get the company more business by the end of the day.

Hed admits that they have some issues with piracy, not only involving the app itself, but also with the proliferation of bogus Angry Birds merchandise. However, the company believes that  pirated materials can help attract more fans to the franchise, which could then spend money on legitimate Angry Birds offerings.

The company's CEO said that they have avoided the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy, and instead of viewing people in terms of users, they view them as fans. "If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow," Mikael Hed commented.

To some extent Rovio is in a different position than most game developers and can afford to lose some $0.99 game sales given that their Angry Birds franchise has grown so big it has moved beyond the game world and into the physical world with toys and other branded items. The company says its apps have become a channel to cross-promote and sell further content so as long as it reaches a broader audience it's still doing business.

Although Hed explained that Rovio sees it as "futile" to pursue pirates through the courts, they would do it in cases where it feels the products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand or ripping off fans.




User Comments: 22

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

Its true. I "pirated" it then bought it.

Guest said:

"the proliferation of bogus Angry Birds merchandise"; indeed, they have Angry Birds toothpaste! :D http://i.imgur.com/GNtbw.jpg

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

"the proliferation of bogus Angry Birds merchandise"; indeed, they have Angry Birds toothpaste! http://i.imgur.com/GNtbw.jpg

Actually, this isn't really piracy at all, it's counterfeiting.

There really needs to be a movement to have the words properly defined.

RH00D RH00D said:

The fact that he sees customers as "fans" and not "customers" in the traditional sense, shows that this guy really has his head on straight. Even if the game is being pirated, the people pirating it will likely become a fan of the brand. Once they are a fan of the brand then the company is a good position to sell them other things such as merchandise. Not to mention, a person is more likely to buy your game once they are already a fan of your brand/product, not before.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I agree 100% the CEO and what RH00D said. Their CEO seems to have a good outlook on the issue of piracy, instead of such a negative approach the music producers (not even the artist themselves) have taken towards piracy.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Piracy is only a wide scale problem for the media and product parasites, aka: publishers, agents, RIAA, MPAA, etc. They are the only ones losing their piece of the pie. It is not that they do not want to adapt to the new technology, They don't want their clients to adapt and realize that they do not need them. A smart developer or artist will manage their own property.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

I think the problem with today's game developers is they are not creating a product that people are going to become a fan of. They are simply creating a sloppy game to generate some revenue by sucking in as many died hard gamers as they can. If I have purchased a lot of the games that we used for testing here at TechSpot for my own personal use I think I would have demand by money back.

The Angry Birds series and other quality games are well worth their weight in gold and people do become fans of these games. They provide endless hours of entertainment and because people enjoy them so much they can easily justify purchasing them.

Guest said:

me also, i downloaded 1st the torrent copy, then bought an original game on december 2011 when it was 0.99c per game.

ramonsterns said:

Steve said:

I think the problem with today's game developers is they are not creating a product that people are going to become a fan of. They are simply creating a sloppy game to generate some revenue by sucking in as many died hard gamers as they can. If I have purchased a lot of the games that we used for testing here at TechSpot for my own personal use I think I would have demand by money back.

The Angry Birds series and other quality games are well worth their weight in gold and people do become fans of these games. They provide endless hours of entertainment and because people enjoy them so much they can easily justify purchasing them.

This so ******* much. I've been telling my friends for years that games aren't being made with customers in mind, they're mad for sucking as much money out of you until you're fed up, and they just blow me off. Just goes to show how some people don't mind the leeches stuck to their backs and assure everyone else they're supposed to be there.

AmpFeare said:

i dislike angry birds, but these guys are thinking the right way and good for them. keep it up

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

I agree with him but this doesn't work for everything. we can see games like angry birds being so addictive while being so cheap or free depending on the platform, would become such a commercial success. If Rovio would produce the merchandise, was a great move, but too bad it is not the case, angry birds are everywhere, absolutely everywhere but for sure not from Rovio & they do sell !

way before the advent of the Internet, music industry relied on 'fans' then came the 1st copier, followed by sharing, people didn't even know they were 'pirating' thus 'hurting' the industry.

In my part of the world, i've seen Software publishers/developers allow piracy just for the people to get used exclusively to their products, that even free legit alternatives failed & now with the proper law, most are forced into buying or face sanctions while they still don't want the free alternatives.

we can't apply same rule to the software, movie & game industry, for the process of making one is clear and obvious, it takes time & money & the final product is way too different in a lot of ways.

speaking only of video games, we can't compare an excellent 'angry birds' to an 'excellent diablo II' or an 'excellent skyrim' or 'grand theft auto' .... they are all of the best at their level & i'm sure the cost in producing some would be really high compared to our little birds.

yes, the developers should see us as fan & yes the publishers should concentrate in releasing finished, less buggy softs for the fans instead in finding ways to counter piracy & in the end the legit owners are caught in the turmoil.

but we, as fans should also understand that if we like to be paid for our job done, the big work they are doing to make us dream, has a price too & as long as we go the easy way, they too will do so.

It starts with you & me & great ideas like angry birds, & the vision of Mister Mikael Hed is just great, sure hope some would follow & leading the way for a better business model ,,,

cheers!

Guest said:

true. after i pirated avatar (one of the most pirated movie),

i wanted to watch the 3D version in theaters,

and if ever they release a sequel, i know i'll be paying

for it in the big screen.

it's all about trust. some people don't want to spend

their money these days on something they aren't so sure to

be of high quality.

Guest said:

I agree...People who pirate and never buy will at least tell others who do how much they love games. Most pirates don't tell others how to pirate...they just do it for their own enjoyment and they get to try a lot of games and even without knowing it can create more sales by telling others how much they like certain games. The more people playing your games weather pirated or legal the more sales you will generate...Create DRM and hassle people about pirating and you actually create less sales. You will always have pirates....its best to let them be and concentrate on designing a good game and sales will follow.

tonylukac said:

Stealing games actually brings prosperity. Look at Nintendo with its Wii having a loss this quarter in its earnings. You can't pirate those games, but those companies that you can are making the megabucks.

MilwaukeeMike said:

$.99 for Angry birds? what? It's free on my phone. Just checked again now. FREE. In big capital letters. Does Apple make you pay? I have an android phone.

So.... I don't get it. What the heck are you guys talking about.

Guest said:

it just, the music industry is too greedy

Kezgao said:

There are two versions, a FREE version where you run into advertisements and a paid version that's ad-free.

Guest said:

IF they are to stop all piracy then they will find themselves in more trouble than they are think they are now.Lets say Microsoft stops all piracy of its Windows operating system then in no time Linux will take its place. So its favorable for microsoft to keep things as it is and they really do keep the things they are.

For music and movie industry, lets say if they stop piracy in online world then this will give tremendous increase in real world piracy. Piracy would be a good business and extremely profitable.In terms of quality users may get very bad quality of music and movie content.If they stop all forms of piracy then I assume most people will not be able to buy enough. then there is the problem of the copying of these digital contents as anyone with a comp can copy it.It is getting too much complicated. then there is radios both terrestrial and internet that can be alternative to music.

MilwaukeeMike said:

kezgao said:

There are two versions, a FREE version where you run into advertisements and a paid version that's ad-free.

So the company who's in the business of selling ads doesn't mind if people 'pirate' the software that they use to distribute ads? And if they steal the $.99 one, how much does that cost them? How much goes to the app store and the carrier?

I'd like to see some numbers on paid downloads to free downloads before we really know if this company is affected. If he makes more on merchandise than he does on selling the game for a buck, then I'm sure he's in favor of people getting it any way possible. that's a pretty unique position.

princeton princeton said:

milwaukeemike said:

$.99 for Angry birds? what? It's free on my phone. Just checked again now. FREE. In big capital letters. Does Apple make you pay? I have an android phone.

So.... I don't get it. What the heck are you guys talking about.

You know those ads are there for a reason right?

JudaZ said:

Guest said:

IF they are to stop all piracy then they will find themselves in more trouble than they are think they are now.Lets say Microsoft stops all piracy of its Windows operating system then in no time Linux will take its place. So its favorable for microsoft to keep things as it is and they really do keep the things they are.

For music and movie industry, lets say if they stop piracy in online world then this will give tremendous increase in real world piracy. Piracy would be a good business and extremely profitable.In terms of quality users may get very bad quality of music and movie content.If they stop all forms of piracy then I assume most people will not be able to buy enough. then there is the problem of the copying of these digital contents as anyone with a comp can copy it.It is getting too much complicated. then there is radios both terrestrial and internet that can be alternative to music.

Actually a few years back Microsoft even said that " if you are going to pirate software, we prefer you pirate ours" ...because that guy got it as well.

The more people that are used to work on a windows computer, and know as an example MS office..the more likely is it that companies that pay big money for legal copies of software will continue to buy Microsoft's solutions. It in the long run saves money for companies in training for new hires.

(of course Microsoft is fighting piracy and are not boasting with this statement (i cant even find the quote anywhere now) but i think this is mostly be cause they have to .. the have stockowners to please after all.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.