Angry Birds Space will indeed hit Windows Phone, CEO says
Angry Birds Space is not yet available to Windows Phone 7 users, but will be soon, according to the CEO of game maker Rovio, who contradicted an earlier report quoting a company executive who said the new game would skip the Microsoft platform.
The kerfuffle suggests some interesting backroom maneuvering in the hours between the two reports. Microsoft partner Nokia, for instance, may have expressed some displeasure about the original statement to the Angry Birds maker, a fellow Finnish company.
Absent the new Angry Birds game, Windows Phone 7 could have a much harder time attracting new users. That, in turn, could hurt Nokia, which just brought its first Windows Phone 7 handsets to the U.S. -- and could also potentially damage the outlook for Redmond's next mobile operating system, Windows 8, due out later this year.
It's also possible that Microsoft's clout is simply on the rise in the smartphone arena, given the possibility that Windows 8 might become a third major player in the smartphone market.
Either could be a plausible interpretation of the sudden volte-face Rovio has just executed.
In an interview with Reuters, Rovio CEO Mikael Hed said the company was "working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7."
While Hed didn't say when Windows Phone users could expect the game, his comments directly contradicted what Rovio's chief marketing officer told Bloomberg in an interview published earlier today. That official, Peter Vesterbacka, said that "it's a big undertaking" to support Microsoft's mobile operating system, since the game -- currently available for iOS and Android -- would have to be completely rewritten for Microsoft's current mobile OS.
"If you look at activations, Apple's iOS and Android are clearly bigger than any other platform," Vesterbacka told Bloomberg. "We want to be on all screens, but we have to consider the cost of supplying the smaller platforms. With Windows Phone it's a lot of work to technically support it."
Vesterbacka then told Bloomberg that Rovio had no plans to release Angry Birds Space on Windows Phone 7.
Rovio launched Angry Birds Space yesterday on Apple's iOS, Google's Android, and on Mac and the PC. The game takes the same basic function of launching birds from a slingshot at pigs but adds gravity elements -- or lack thereof -- that one would find in space. The game comes with 60 levels that, Rovio says, present a bundle of surprises to players. Angry Birds Space is already the top game in Apple's App Store.
Angry Birds Space won't be Rovio's first time bringing the Angry Birds franchise to Windows Phone 7. Last June, Rovio launched Angry Birds on Microsoft's operating system, delivering the same experience users would find on other platforms. As Vesterbacka pointed out in his interview with Bloomberg, the game is the most popular app in the Windows Phone app store.
Updated at 9:15 a.m. PT to include details from Hed's interview with Reuters. Story has been changed throughout to note Hed's confirmation of development for Angry Birds Space on the Windows Phone 7 platform.