UPDATED 09:20 EDT / NOVEMBER 02 2011

Angry Birds Flies Past 500M Downloads, Drives Gaming Innovation

Mobile gaming firm Rovio said on Wednesday that its hit game Angry Birds had reached a record 500 million downloads in less than two years since its launch.

Unlike most mobile-game crazes, Angry Birds – in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds’ eggs – has stayed at the top of the charts since it was launched for Apple’s iPhone on Dec 11, 2009.

In addition, Rovio also announced some other interesting figures.  At 100 million downloads, 44 billion stars were collected, and at 210 million downloads, over 200 000 years of Angry Birds have been played.

Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka also said that 500 million downloads is more than any other mobile game has reached, ever.  It has also taken them less than 2 years to achieve this milestone.  Furthermore, the goal for the company is to have 1 billion fans as Rovio shifts to become an entertainment company, not a gaming company.

“This is a fantastic landmark achievement for us, and we’re extremely delighted to see such an incredible amount of people enjoying our games,” said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio. “We remain committed to creating more fun experiences and bringing exceptional quality to Angry Birds Fans everywhere.”

The Rovio Effect

On the other hand, it looks like Rovio is not the only mobile content company that wants to catapult itself into being the next Disney of the mobile gaming world. Outfit7, makers of the best-selling Talking Tom Cat app, along with the rest of the Talking Friends crew, says that collectively its apps have been downloaded more than 225 million times and boasts 60 million monthly active users.  The talkative characters currently get about 20 million new downloads a month. With those numbers in hand, Outfit7 has a pretty large user base that is actually approaching Rovio’s numbers.

Rovio has talked about similar ambitions for Angry Birds, but Outfit7 arguably has a good chance to expand its brand beyond games, because its characters have much more personality and interactivity.  It speaks to the power of the mobile platform that Outfit7 can dream this big.  iOS and Android have not only enabled this set of characters to gain mass adoption, but they’ve also empowered them to become truly interactive characters that can theoretically be used for a wide variety of entertainment purposes.

More on mobile game marketing

Popular mobile game maker Gameloft announces a few freemium Android games, including GT Racing: Motor Academy and Green Farm Mobile Freemium HD. Available to download with no up-front cost, each player will gain added content in the form of in-app purchases.  It’s a form that’s worked well for social games like FarmVille, and is particularly lucrative in the mobile gaming sector.

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