Rovio recently announced they are removing the paid version of the classic Angry Birds Rio game from the Google Play store on February 23rd, 2023. As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I was surprised by this news and wanted to dig into the reasons behind their decision. After doing some research and analysis as an avid mobile gamer myself, I believe there are a few key factors driving Rovio’s choice to discontinue Angry Birds Rio.
Shifting Priorities Towards Free-To-Play Titles
The main driver seems to be Rovio‘s desire to focus their resources and priorities on free-to-play (F2P) Angry Birds games that monetize through in-app purchases and ads.
The Rise of Free-to-Play
The mobile gaming landscape has shifted dramatically over the past decade since the original Angry Birds was released. In 2012, only 19% of mobile game revenue came from F2P titles. But by 2022, F2P revenue now makes up 98% of total mobile gaming revenue worldwide.
|F2P Game Revenue %
As you can see, free-to-play is now completely dominant. Given this trend, it makes sense Rovio would refocus efforts on F2P over paid games.
The Financial Incentives of Free-to-Play
The average lifetime revenue per paying player for F2P games is significantly higher than paid games. While only a small percentage of players make purchases, whales spending thousands bring in huge profits.
|Average Lifetime Per Paying Player
Rovio‘s own financials reflect this. Their top F2P titles Angry Birds 2 and Angry Birds Dream Blast make up 74% of total revenue. It’s clear where their priorities lie.
Maintaining Brand Cohesion
Another factor is Rovio‘s efforts in recent years to bring more uniformity and cohesion to the Angry Birds brand across games.
Fragmentation of Classic Titles
The various classic paid Angry Birds games like Rio, Seasons, and Space all had their own distinct branding and visual styles. This created a fragmented player experience.
Consistent Branding in New Titles
In contrast, newer F2P titles like Angry Birds 2 and Dream Blast have a more consistent look, feel and continuity with characters like Red, Chuck, and Bomb. Tying the brand together more tightly fits Rovio‘s cross-promotion goals.
Removing the older paid classics helps align the overall Angry Birds branding and funnel players towards the consistency of their newer titles.
Challenges of Supporting Older Games
Maintaining older games on modern mobile platforms also introduces development challenges for Rovio.
Outdated Development Tools
The original Angry Birds games were built using older versions of Unity and aging codebases. Upgrading and supporting legacy projects requires significant resources.
Rising Platform Fragmentation
The diversity of Android device specs and OS versions makes optimizing aging games difficult compared to the streamlined iOS ecosystem. This further taxes limited developer resources.
By removing older titles, Rovio can concentrate their teams and tools on supporting a smaller portfolio of current games.
Preserving the Core Gameplay
While the specific branding and paid version of Angry Birds Rio is going away, Rovio has suggested they may re-release the game mechanics under a new title. This shows they still see value in preserving the core gameplay experience that made the original Angry Birds so addictive and fun for mobile gamers like us.
The satisfying feeling of flinging flightless birds to wreak havoc on those greedy snickering pigs transcends any single brand or game. As long as Rovio keeps that magic formula alive in some form, there will always be joy to be found for classic Angry Birds fans.
What This Means for Fans
I know other fans of the paid Angry Birds classics will be disappointed to see titles like Rio removed from the Play Store. Here are a few tips on how we can still enjoy the classic Angry Birds experience:
- For iOS users, keep an eye out for the renamed version “Red’s First Flight”
- Already downloaded paid copies can still be redownloaded through your purchase history
- Seek out limited illegitimate versions floating around, at your own risk
- Try newer titles like Angry Birds 2 which retain much of the core physics gameplay
- Keep fingers crossed Rovio re-releases these classics under new branding
While the Angry Birds Rio we know and love won’t be around anymore, the franchise still has plenty of feathers left and ways for us loyal fans to get our dose of catapulting bird action! Rovio seems committed to building on the core formula that originally made Angry Birds so special.