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One of the greatest mobile gaming hits ever just keeps on rolling: Angry Birds has hit the 200 million-downloads milestone, Rovio’s Mighty Eagle Peter Vesterbacka announced at pc Mobile 2011 as part of a larger discussion on the unique cross-promotional scheme that Rovio and Fox Digital Entertainment cooked up with Angry Birds Rio.
The milestone comes alongside news Rovio has 35 million downloads of Angry Birds Rio, a number that was a delight to Vesterbacka’s co-panelist at the conference, Fox Digital Entertainment’s Andrew Stalbow. Versterbacka told paidContent’s Staci Kramer than Rovio has said no to “lots of weird stuff” pitched by entertainment companies and studios hoping to piggyback on perhaps the hottest title in mobile gaming, but when Fox approached Rovio with a plan to link the movie Rio–an animated feature film about a pair of love birds traveling to Rio de Janiero–it made sense: the movie was about birds, people love the Angry Birds, and so Rovio could link its flagship title to something that people wouldn’t find offensive or strange.
From Fox’s perspective, it was a no-brainer to try and get a way into Angry Birds. “We’re a big media company that had an opportunity to do something in a way we couldn’t do ourselves,” Stalbow said. He expressed great admiration for how Rovio turned its most heavily trafficked page–the restart screen that pops up after you fail to complete a level–and found ways to insert ads and other forms of marketing that were unobtrusive and relevant to users.
Obviously, a Super Bowl commercial (aired on Fox) promoting the app and the movie didn’t hurt. But if Fox and Rovio had gotten the experience wrong, they would have heard about it, Stalbow said.
Vesterbacka thinks the growth of mobile platforms means that the next “entertainment franchises will emerge first on mobile,” he said, pointing out that quite a large company was built on the back of a simple black-and-white cartoon about a mouse long ago.