Angry Birds activity park launches next month in Finland
THE first Angry Birds activity park will launch next month in Finland, with a UK rollout planned for later this year.
The hugely popular mobile and web game is now being turned into activity parks around the world – in a bid to help children have fun while exercising.
By playing in the parks, which will feature animal spring riders, swings, sandpits and a range of climbing towers with slides, children and parents will be able to access new features in the mobile game, as the Angry Birds creators try and fuse the digital world with reality.
The first Angry Birds park will open at the end of April at the Sarkanniemi Amusement Park in Finland, the country from which the popular game hails.
Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer of Angry Birds parent company Rovio, [officially known as the ‘Mighty Eagle’], speaking at the global launch yesterday in the Finnish Embassy in London, said: “There is a big problem with childhood obesity in Western countries with children spending a lot of time playing computer games and watching TV. We have discovered that we can make learning fun [referring to a new range of science textbooks released by the firm] so why not make exercise fun?
“All of the Angry Birds Activity Parks will be ‘Magic Places’ which means that when people go there, they will gain access to additional content, rewards and special features such as the latest bird.
"There will also be local leader boards so there will be a real incentive to go to the park and exercise. Modern mobile phones have many sensors so the more activity a person does, the more they will be rewarded.
“You can create some really cool experiences when you combine the real world with the digital world.”
Working with activity park manufacturer Lappset Group, the concept will be rolled out across adventure playgrounds, shopping centres and other recreational spaces in the UK later this year.
A representative from Lappset said that initial discussions with parks in Hampshire and West Sussex had begun, but no specific time frame for a UK roll-out was announced.
Vesterbacka also revealed that Rovio wanted people to spend longer interacting with the Angry Bird brands.
“We see TV as the big competitor. TV dominates people’s lives. On average people spend 158 and a half hours a month watching TV – while they only spend two hours a month interacting with Angry Birds in some form,” he said.
Familiar characters and colours from the mobile game will be incorporated into the activity parks. The range also includes an Angry Birds arcade game that can be played outdoors in the park.
Vesterbacka said that the company, which is headquartered in Helsinki, was focusing on rolling out these parks in the US and China too.
There will also be a new Angry Birds ‘Space’ game launched tomorrow.
Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 700 million times and its biggest market is the US, closely followed by China.
Last year it was the most popular paid-for app on Apple’s App Store. The game, now also available as a web app, is played by more than 30 million people a day for a total of 300 million minutes.
The 300 million total minutes clocked up each day represents the equivalent of a single gamer spending more than 570 years playing Angry Birds. The game involves catapulting destructive birds at pigs hidden in a series of fortresses.
Andrew Stalbow, Rovio’s American chief, confirmed to The Telegraph last year that the hotly anticipated Angry Birds movie is slated for release in 2014, after a series of themed cartoons make their debut.
In 2012 Rovio acquired an animation studio in Finland to make the cartoons and the movie. However, Stalbow revealed no decisions have been taken as to how or where the movie will be made.
He said the company “had a real shot of growing the business to be a huge entertainment company” and that it would move beyond the Angry Birds game in due course.