Bad Piggies Snort at the Competition

If only life was like a game of “Angry Birds.” You could blow up the obstacles to your success and be rewarded for causing mayhem. Alas, we must keep our destructive tendencies limited to our iPhones, Android devices and tablets.

The birds got their humble start as a simple phone app. Rovio was no multimedia powerhouse when they introduced the game, but now their little characters have an empire to call their own. Plush toys of the birds can be found in equal abundance in children’s quarters and livening up desks at office parks. Several follow-up games with new boards or thematic elements have been big-sellers, a trend Rovio hopes will continue with the release of their newest installment this fall: “Angry Birds Star Wars.”

This astounding success from a company employing only 300 people is in stark contrast to the performance of another oft discussed company in the social-gaming spotlight – Zynga. The folks at Zynga host some incredibly popular games such as “Farmville and Cityville,” but with 3,000 employees and all the overhead that comes with a workforce so large it stands to reason that something would have to give. Zynga just announced that significant cost-cutting measures are being implemented in their company.

Approximately 5 percent of the Zynga workforce will be laid off, less money will be spent with contractors and other outside services, and they will be “sunsetting” 13 of their older games. Zynga is also reportedly cutting back on their investment in “The Ville” – which includes “Farmville” and “Cityville” – games which have been big hits, particulary on Facebook.

Much like the film industry, you’re only as good as your latest hit in the gaming industry. A great history is just that – history. The next six months will certainly be very important for Zynga to restructure and revitalize the itself. Rovio’s challenge is to be prepared with a new product when the “Angry Birds” franchise becomes played out. Although, considering there’s a television series in the works, it might be some time yet before the public gives up their “Angry Birds” and “Bad Piggies.”

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Angry Birds Disrupt the Farm

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