Rovio plots console Angry Birds, NFC, novelty pop

TechEye took a tour around Rovio’s offices here in Helsinki. Those guys really, really like birds.

Rovio also has a cook book coming out and a new videogame which should arrive later this year. It’s called Angry Birds Magic and it seems like it might be more of the same. If it ain’t broke…

There will be a twist, though – Rovio is getting big on NFC.

While Nokia’s around it’ll be the first to market with a ton of NFC enabled phones. The idea is you’ll bump your phone with an NFC sticker for rewards and such. We saw a demonstration with a plush toy that earned you the Mighty Eagle character. After the Nokia release you can expect Android. If the rumours about the iPhone 5 having NFC are true don’t be surprise about an iOS release. Hopefully, the NFC will be cross platform. For the brand faithful it could be a money spinner.

Actually, there will be a couple new games this year.

Angry Bird watchers may be interested to hear that a social element will be incorporated. Even in “countries that don’t use Facebook.” That’s China, then – wouldn’t it be an odd turn if the jasmine revolution wormed its way through Rovio’s physics puzzler?

The game will also find incarnations on other platforms. Gentle prodding from the room revealed a positive reaction to Nintendo consoles and motion sensing technology. It’d make sense.

Although us in the West could be forgiven for letting out a collective sigh at the next pig fortress, the brand is really gaining more traction in Asia. Nokia recently shelled out a bunch of money to shut down an entire street in Kuala Lumpur to promote the brand.

There was a Guinness World Record attempt, too, which saw the longest line of people playing a mobile game back-to-back. In fact, China’s growth really is solid. While considering the overall population the product target of 100 million by the end of the year might seem like pittance, it’ll be the high end phone users Rovio will go after and it’ll all be revenue from there. As long as the consumer dodges the faux Angry Birds knock-offs – Miffed Sparrows? Pissed Off Parakeets? Maudlin Macaw? – of which there is plenty in, for example, Kuala Lumpur.

By the way, Rovio’s looking for an IPO. But it’s “not rushing” anything, according to bird whisperer Ville Heijari. What’s the brand worth then? Hard to say. Very high, Heijari tells us. 

TechEye asked if people are going to get sick of the whole deal. “Of course people are fickle,” we’re told. Rovio will have to look where to go following Angry Birds, but while it builds it is confident.

One area Angry Birds will probably flap into is novelty music. We despair and begged the company not to take that route. Ed Chester, of Trusted Reviews, said any Crazy Frog inspired escapades are a sure fire way to kill off prospects of longetivy. We’ll see. Rovio didn’t confirm or deny, but nods of agreement from other hacks did not go questioned. Don’t do music! we pleaded. “Why not?” chirped the whisperer. I mean, reasons Rovio, the Angry Birds Rio theme made it to number six in the Latin section of the US iTunes shop.

Really, Rovio’s goal is to build as strong a cross-platform entertainment brand as it can. The brand is more important than the game now as it flogs its plush toys and… a cookery book full of egg recipes. There’s no pork or chicken to go with those cracked eggs. Eggs are the glue which holds the birds and the pigs together says Rovio.

Celebrity fans: there’s David Cameron and Justin Bieber. Zynga had Gaga. Our bird whisperer told us we don’t have to worry about any Angry Biebers. Phew!

Is the bird whisperer and marketing man Ville Heijari any good at the game himself? Nah, not really. He does like it, but there’s not enough time for dedicating to toppling pigs. “I only go to the toilet so many times a day,” he tells us.