Rovio's franchise makes its social web debut on Google+ before Facebook, but is the company worth $1.2bn?
Rovio Mobile has signed up as a launch partner for the Google+ Games service, which started rolling out on Google's new social network last night. Angry Birds is one of the first titles to be made available, alongside Zynga Poker, PopCap's Bejeweled Blitz, EA's Dragon Age Legends and other games.
The new games offering on Google+ is a direct rival for Facebook's gaming ecosystem. Rovio has been working on a Facebook version of Angry Birds for some time, but it has now made its social web debut on Google's platform instead - following a previous non-social release on the company's Chrome web app store.
"Angry Birds for Google+ Games is a great start, but it’s just our first step in social gaming," says Rovio CEO Mikael Hed. "As our fans know, we constantly look for ways to update and innovate our products. We want to delight our users by going way beyond what they were expecting. Social gaming is going to be massive, and we’re very excited about what we have coming up next."
Google+ represents a potentially interesting new digital channel for social mobile developers thinking of taking their games to the web, especially if reports that the company is only taking a 5% cut of in-game purchases turn out to be its long-term strategy - by contrast, Facebook takes a 30% cut on its own platform.
One thing lacking at this point is a direct mobile angle for Google+. However, it would hardly be surprising if at some point, Google's social graph finds its way more overtly into the Android platform, perhaps with an equivalent of Apple's Game Center community - except spanning web and mobile.
The news came as reports circulated of Rovio possibly taking a new strategic investment that could value the Finnish company as high as $1.2 billion.
Bloomberg claims that Rovio is 'considering taking a strategic investment from a company in the entertainment business', with EA, Zynga, Disney and News Corporation suggested as likely candidates. The funding would follow the more traditional financing round of $42 million in March 2011.