Wed, Dec 14, 2011 - Page 10 News List

‘Angry Birds’ maker aims slingshot at playgrounds

GAME-INSPIRED:Lappset, a maker of playground equipment, will dream up activity parks for kids that fit perfectly into the world of the ‘Angry Birds’ game

Reuters, HELSINKI

The world’s most popular computer game will become live attractions for children next year when the first Angry Birds playgrounds appear in Finland.

The developer of the Angry Birds app found on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers said on Monday that two Finnish towns would get the first playgrounds kitted out with equipment inspired by the game’s characters, as it signed a global deal with playground equipment manufacturer Lappset Group Ltd.

Mobile gaming firm Rovio Entertainment Ltd, which plans to go public within a few years, said last month its hit game had reached a record 500 million downloads less than two years after 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 atop the charts since it was launched for Apple Inc’s iPhone in 2009.

Rovio is expanding the brand across traditional merchandising, to items such as toys and baby products, and is taking the birds to the big screen with film studios.

Lappset will manufacture play and activity equipment and ready-made playgrounds or activity parks inspired by the Angry Birds characters.

“The playgrounds fit perfectly into the Angry Birds world and our way of thinking,” Rovio marketing chief Peter Vesterbacka said in a statement.

The Angry Birds playground product range features animal spring riders, swings, sandpits and a range of climbing towers with slides, and a unique Angry Birds arcade game.

Earlier this year, Rovio raised US$42 million from venture capital firms including Accel Partners, which previously backed Facebook and Baidu, and Skype founder Niklas Zennstroem’s venture capital firm Atomico Ventures

Rovio was founded in 2003 after three students including Niklas Hed — CEO Mikael Hed’s cousin and now Rovio’s COO — won a game-development competition sponsored by Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia Oyj and Hewlett-Packard Co.

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