While Skylanders and Disney Infinity are fighting over interactive-toy dominance on consoles, Angry Birds is finding some success with the model on mobile.
Developer Rovio reported today that Angry Birds Star Wars II has seen players scan in the physics puzzler’s compatible toys over 30 million times. These action figures, known as Telepods, enable players to use their favorite characters on different levels on demand. Rovio, in partnership with Telepods creator Hasbro, released 30 different Angry Birds Star Wars characters as interactive figures that players can collect, which includes evil-themed Imperial Pigs and the good Rebel Birds. This model helps generate more revenue as it has players seeking out the toys in stores as well as potentially making in-app purchases. Activision’s Skylanders has already made more than $2 billion from games and toy sales.
“We’re thrilled at how popular the Telepods platform is with our fans,” Rovio executive vice president of games Jami Laes said in a statement. “Rovio is constantly exploring novel ways to delight the world with new entertainment technology, including ways for players to experience our games in both the physical and digital space. We’re happy to collaborate with the innovative team at Hasbro on the Telepods platform.”
Rovio also announced that it is releasing an update to Angry Birds Star Wars II that will introduce 44 new levels. Called Rise of the Clones, the expansion will feature new obstacles for players to overcome including wind and water currents.
Angry Birds Star Wars II is Rovio’s first attempt at making an interactive-toy game. Activision kicked off this model with Skylanders in 2011, and it has caught on with younger players. Skylanders even had an iOS game called Battlegrounds in 2012 that connected with the toys through the use of a Bluetooth portal. Over three games (and the mobile release) and dozens of action figures, the Skylanders series has generated more billions in revenue for Activision. That success inspired The Walt Disney Company to introduce a similar product called Disney Infinity that enables fans to zap in characters from properties like Cars and Toy Story into an interactive toy box.
Nintendo also announced plans to adopt the business model for an upcoming series of Mario games that it will detail further at the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo in two weeks.
While Activision is making billions and Disney and Nintendo hope to do the same, Rovio’s attempts to re-create a similar experience on mobile have at least made a small dent. While 30 million scans is an impressive figure, the company did not indicate how many toys it has sold or how much revenue it generated from this effort. The studio already had a lucrative licensing business that brought in cash from the sales of Angry Birds-themed merchandise.
Rovio will continue to rely on the popularity of Angry Birds even if that strategy saw its profits cut in half from $75.5 million in 2012 to $36.6 million in 2013. The company announced plans to release an Angry Birds movie in 2016, and it also plans to continue supporting its Telepods partnership with Hasbro.
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