Mikael Hed on the future for its feathery franchise.
What more can you say about Angry Birds? Plenty if you're Rovio Mobile CEO Mikael Hed, who was a star turn at the LeWeb conference in Paris this morning.
"The game has sold more than 12 million copies, and then in addition there are something like 30 million or more free downloads on the different platforms," said Hed.
He also talked about the decision to make Angry Birds free and ad-supported on Android.
"We looked at the Android Market and realised that... not all customers were able to download through the Android Market," he said.
"For us that was a big concern. We wanted to make sure that everybody would have access to the game. And the paid apps on Android Market are not available in all countries, and not in every country for all operators. So we ended up with the advertising model, and that's worked out very well."
Did that come as a surprise? Hed said not entirely, since Rovio had a good idea of how much people are playing the game.
"The future will hold many more apps that will be advertising revenue based, simply because that's a great way to capture users for a long time within the one app and to have the ads visible to them. I think that it will at least very well complement TV ads and radio ads."
Could there be an ad-supported Angry Birds game on iPhone then, extending that logic?
"It's possible, but on the iPhone the commercial model works very well. There is one shop, everybody uses it, and Apple forces everybody to register for iTunes before they use the phones, so everybody can buy on iPhone."
Hed denied that Rovio is finding Android fragmentation a major headache, despite well-documented problems getting Angry Birds to work on cheaper Android devices. As a former Java games developer, porting hardly fazes the company.
Rovio "may" do a lightweight version of the game for lower-end Android handsets - it seems like it's not a certainty.
Hed also scuppered suggestions that Rovio has a tense relationship with Microsoft, saying it's working on a Windows Phone 7 version of the game. It seems Google's new Chrome store is also on the Angry Birds agenda.
"Chrome is very interesting, and we are looking at that also... Just like Android, it remains to be seen how widely the payment coverage is. The revenue split is certainly interesting between the developer and the store."
Hed confirmed that Rovio is also working on a Facebook game based on Angry Birds, before moving onto the physical plush toys that are being released this month.
"The results have been very encouraging," he said, confirming that the initial batch has sold out. "We are waiting for more toys to arrive from China!"
Rovio now has a button in several versions of Angry Birds to drive players to the company's web-store to buy the toys.
"Next year, we will definitely move into consoles as well," said Hed, getting back to the game itself. "We are most interested in the download model side."
He also said Rovio is looking at allowing players to pick up their Angry Birds game across different platforms, as it rolls out to more devices.
And the movie? "We have looked very closely at the movie side, but the issue for us is that any movie we make will take four years to get into theatres. We are more keen to see something come out faster... Right now we're focused more on the smaller screen."
Rovio has expanded from 12 people to 40 this year, and Hed said that "next up, we're working on bringing out new titles that may or may not be Angry Birds related".
Hed declined to talk in too much depth about Rovio's finances, but he did clarify that the company is "very very profitable, even at our very fast base of expansion, we don't have a problem in covering that with our income".
Might smoeone be interested in acquiring Rovio? "I like that type of interest," grinned Hed. "There is a lot of interest, it's good to have those kind of talks, but for now we've been keen to build our own business and see where we get to."