Publishers and developers frequently attempt to turn negative, anti-player actions into something favorable. The community team at EA famously described Star Wars Battlefront 2’s loot boxes as a strategy to “give players a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different characters.”
Many criticized Blizzard for releasing a poor Warcraft 3 remake that kept all of the original cutscenes, but Blizzard insisted that this was done on purpose to “preserve the genuine spirit” of the original game. We now know this to be a falsehood.
Developers almost seldom come right out and acknowledge it when they try to mislead players. At least it sounds better than declaring “we’re terrible guys doing bad guy stuff,” even if the majority of people don’t buy the spin. Check out Rovio’s extremely blatant public statement explaining why it’s deleting the original Angry Birds from the App Store if you need more evidence.
Let me briefly catch you up on the drama since you last thought about Angry Birds when you sold your original iPhone in 7th grade. Three students from Finland’s Helsinki University of Technology launched Rovio in 2003. Before finally releasing its breakthrough hit, Angry Birds, in 2009, the studio spent years developing mobile games for hires, like Burnout and Need for Speed: Carbon.
It’s difficult to overestimate how huge of a success Angry Birds was. In addition to spawning 22 other games, a movie and television franchise, it also contributed to Finland’s now-thriving mobile game sector. Rovio presently employs over 500 people and generates over $300 million annually as a publicly traded firm on the Nasdaq Nordic. Remember that this is no longer a little indie start-up.
The Angry Birds series has undergone numerous changes over the past ten years, as you might expect. Angry Birds has developed along with the mobile market as a whole. In other words, contemporary Angry Birds games are hellscapes filled with microtransactions that use every reliable psychological ploy in the book to separate you from your money.
Even if the first version of Angry Birds only cost $1 for unlimited, ad-free play, you don’t reach $300 million in annual revenue (every year) unless you’re looking for methods to squeeze every last dollar out of your devoted player base.
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What Was The Rovio’s Response To Fans?
After ceasing to receive significant updates in 2012, Angry Birds was eventually taken down from the App Store in 2019. Rovio responded to complaints from fans about the delisting with a letter that was both intelligent and personable.
Because it was created using an antiquated, proprietary engine, the original Angry Birds and some of Rovio’s other older games were no longer compliant with platform standards. It was re-released in 2020 as Rovio Classics: Angry Birds for the original $0.99 asking price after the business vowed to bring it back. It wasn’t flawless.
When Angry Birds were rebuilt in Unity, the physics matched more recent iterations of the game rather than the original, and it was also quite glitchy. Nonetheless, it was made available without the use of any MTX tricks and was preserved to the best of Rovio’s ability, so that ought to have been the end of the matter.
Rovio revealed this week that Red’s First Flight will replace Rovio Classics: Angry Birds in the iOS App Store and will be taken down on Thursday for Android users. The cause? Rovio informs players that the game is hurting its overall portfolio and encourages them to play some of the other “live” Angry Birds games instead.
Rovio revealed this week that Red’s First Flight will replace Rovio Classics: Angry Birds in the iOS App Store and will be taken down on Thursday for Android users.
Please read below for an important announcement regarding the availability of Rovio Classics: Angry Birds. pic.twitter.com/a4n4bU5gQJ
— Rovio (@Rovio) February 21, 2023
That is simple to interpret between the lines. All of Rovio’s shady, predatory games started earning less money after the company developed a reasonably priced game that customers adored.
Instead of capitalizing on this success and looking for ways to give players more of what they enjoy, the company has chosen to pull the game off the market and cover it up with a false name so that everyone can forget about it and resume mindlessly consuming the gallons of garbage that bring in more revenue for Rovio.
Although this decision is reprehensible and hostile to players, it is exactly how capitalism functions in reality. In a free market society, people produce goods, and if they are good, other people will purchase them. Rovio created a good product that people enjoy, but it must be discontinued because it is harming the sales of their inferior, lower-quality products.
I find it inconceivable that someone would be so unconcerned with their reputation, player base, and game quality that they would be prepared to sacrifice their own legacy in order to appease the stockholders.
I am aware of that. We’re perilously close to entering into political territory here, and the Gamers will riot if I continue to discuss the weight of late-stage capitalism. But here’s the thing: Every time Activision or Ubisoft engages in some sort of anti-player, an insulting scheme to add NFTs to Ghost Recon or charge us for services that were previously free, we perform the song and dance about how corporations aren’t your friends to remind you that every choice these faceless megacorps make is solely motivated by the desire for profit.
The fact that Rovio is telling you straight in the face that it doesn’t care about you, doesn’t care what you like, and only considers you in terms of how much money it can extract from you makes it somehow even more egregious than usual.
Why would anyone ever want to give this company another dime after reading this statement? People on Twitter are pleading with Rovio to make concessions by raising the price of Angry Birds Classics to make up for the revenue lost from its other games, but guess what? Screw that.
Unsustainable objectives include infinite growth and the discontinuation of a game due to its overwhelming popularity. Better mobile games than Angry Birds are available, as are better game developers than Rovio.