Posted by Allison Boyer

angry birds friends

Mobile game developer Rovio recently announced that Angry Birds Friends is coming to iOS and Android soon.

Everything is coming full circle at Rovio, the company responsible for the popular game Angry Birds. This game first became popular in the iOS and (later) Android app stores before also launching on Facebook. Now, Rovio is bringing the Facebook version of the game back to iOS and Android so users can more easily play Angry Birds Friends on the go.

Since Angry Birds Friends first launch on Facebook, it has been installed over 60 million times, and there are currently 15 million monthly active users. The Facebook version of this game is similar to the original mobile version in that players fling comically ticked-off birds at oblivious green pigs guarding structures that are increasingly difficult to knock down. However, Angry Birds Friends also has a social element to the game. Users can compete with other Facebook friends, post their high scores on their wall, and gift special power-ups to one another. On Angry Birds Friends, you also have the ability to earn a gold, silver, or bronze crown if you have one of the top three high scores on the level.

The announcement of further development for Angry Birds Friends is a bit of a reversal from the original stance Rovio took on social gaming. According to TechCrunch, Julien Codorniou from Facebook’s Gaming Partnerships teams says they visited the Finland-based company once a month for 18 months before they agreed to bring the game to Facebook.

Part of the choice that game developers have to make when it comes to social gaming is whether or not to go the Facebook route at the risk of cannibalizing their own paid app models. Facebook games are free to play, but open the game to a much wider audience. And, as Rovio does, the developers can work paid upgrades into the game play, making users pull out their wallets if they want special features or hope to upgrade faster. In this way, companies can actually make even more money with a free Facebook game than they can with a premium app where users play a small flat fee for the game. It’s still a risk, though, especially when you already have a great-selling app like Angry Birds.

The social gaming choices seems to be working for Rovio, however, not only because Facebook players are making in-game purchases, but also because it’s increasing awareness for their brand. In the company’s 2012 annual report, they showed an increase in the amount of revenue (now 45%) coming from non-game purchases like plush toys and other Angry Birds merchandise.

With the social game coming to your mobile devices, it will now be even easier to play and, as Rovio hopes I’m sure, spend money on your favorite feathered friends. Will you be playing?

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Allison Boyer is the Online Education Coordinator for NMX University, where you can learn more about blogging, podcasting, web TV, and social business. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister.