Angry Birds home pages have been hacked, two days after reports that the personal data of its customers might have been accessed by the NSA and British spy agency GCHQ, Rovio Entertainment Ltd. has announced.
Rovio spokeswoman says the hacking lasted a few minutes early Wednesday and that end-user data “was in no risk at any point”.
Angry Birds home pages have been hacked, two days after reports that the personal data of its customers might have been accessed by the NSA and GCHQ
The hacking came after documents leaked by Edward Snowden suggested that the NSA and GCHQ had been able to extract information through a host of smartphone apps across the globe, including the Angry Birds game franchise.
Rovio has denied the claims, saying it does not “share data, collaborate or collude” with any spy agencies and that it would re-evaluate third-party advertising networks.
Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds video games, is launching Amazing Alex, its first new franchise since 2009.
Amazing Alex’s performance will be closely watched after the firm’s earlier series racked up more than one billion downloads.
Players must arrange objects on screen to create a chain reaction in which each piece of the puzzle has an effect on another until the goal is achieved.
Rovio might find it hard to repeat its previous success.
The launch was marred by a technical problem that caused error messages saying “this game is not recognized by the Game Center” to repeatedly appear on some users’ Apple devices.
Rovio is launching Amazing Alex, its first new franchise since 2009
Rovio said the problem was “frustrating” adding that it was trying to resolve the problem “as soon as possible” and suggested affected users should try to reboot their devices for a “temporary fix”.
Unlike Rovio’s other games, Amazing Alex began its life outside the Finnish firm.
It was originally known as Casey’s Contraptions, a physics-based game in which players had to help the lead character free his toys.
It was released in 2011 by Noel Llopis, a California-based independent game developer, and the Washington-headquartered games studio Mystery Coconut.
It received positive reviews which compared the tasks involved to the outlandish machines drawn by the cartoonist Heath Robinson and the ad-hoc inventions of the 1980s television show MacGyver.
However, the title never became a hit and the developers sold their intellectual property rights to Rovio earlier this year, following which it was removed from Apple’s iOS store.
Rovio has given the graphics and gameplay a tweak and has now re-released it on both the iOS and Android platforms.
The firm’s Twitter feed confirmed that versions for PCs, Macs and Windows Phone handsets would follow.
The company has tried to generate excitement for the release by featuring a prominent tease in its Angry Birds Seasons game which it offered as a free download to iPhone and iPad owners for a limited time.
However, one mobile games analyst said it was too soon to know if the move would pay off.
“It’s hard to know if they can bring their audience with them,” said Jack Kent from IHS Screen Digest.
“If you look at a company in the wider games business like Zynga, they have used core brands like CityVille to add players to their next games and have had some success in doing that.
“But on mobile it’s not as clear that Rovio will be able to do that, especially from a game like Angry Birds that doesn’t have the same social connections – it’s a casual game but you’re not necessarily connected via a wider social network.”
Rovio’s financial report for 2011 revealed it generated 75.4 million Euros ($92.3 million) from sales last year.
It said about 30% of that sum was derived from its own spin-off merchandise and licenses to third-parties for products including toys, clothes and themed play parks.
Jack Kent said Rovio’s expertise in this area meant similar efforts were likely to follow Amazing Alex if it proved popular.
But Rovio is not solely focusing its efforts on the new title.
It has told the gaming website IGN that it had teamed up with the publisher Activision to release its first three Angry Birds titles as a bundled package for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo 3DS later this year.
It said the versions for Sony and Microsoft’s devices could be controlled via the Move and Kinect motion sensors.
But they will face competition from other titles including Wreckateer which also plan to feature a similar dynamic.
Angry Birds Space, the new version of the most downloaded game in history, has been launched on iTunes, Android, PC and Mac.
Angry Birds Space’s launch has been accompanied by a level of fanfare normally only seen around big Hollywood releases – including T-shirts, toys, TV shows on Nickelodeon, a companion book by National Geographic, and a tie-up with Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer.
Angry Birds has been downloaded 700 million times, and parent company Rovio is now estimated to be worth $8.8 billion, just two years after the game first launched.
Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, will stock limited-edition T-shirts, plush toys and snacks containing clues that unlock bonus levels of Angry Birds Space, which will be available beginning on Thursday in app stores, from where users download software applications.
The iTunes version is priced between $1 and $3 for an HD iPad version. The Android version is available free, supported by in-app adverts.
Peter Vesterbacka, marketing chief of the company behind the world’s most downloaded game said that Rovio, the makers of Angry Birds, sees itself as an entertainment brand, not just a games company.
“We want to make Angry Birds a permanent part of pop culture,” he said, comparing the brand to Nintendo’s Mario and Sanrio’s Hello Kitty. “We’re just getting started.”
Angry Birds Space, the new version of the most downloaded game in history, has been launched on iTunes, Android, PC and Mac
Angry Birds, in which the player uses a slingshot to catapult birds to destroy green pigs hidden in fortresses, has been downloaded more than 700 million times, and is the fastest-growing game on Facebook.
Rovio raised its profile hugely last year by hitching a game to the hit animated movie Rio, made by News Corp’s 20th Century Fox, even burying a clue to the game in the movie studio’s Super Bowl ad.
Rovio’s value has been estimated in recent media reports at up to $8.8 billion, little more than two years after it first released Angry Birds for the iPhone.
“It’s as good a guess as any,” said Peter Vesterbacka, comparing Rovio to Facebook games maker Zynga, which went public in December and has a market value of $9.5 billion.
Rovio has also signed up a top U.S. retailer to put its branded toys, books and T-shirts in dedicated areas of thousands of stores nationwide, timed to coincide with the launch of its new Angry Birds Space game this week.
The company also plans to open branded retail stores in China soon.
Rovio has about 300 staff, up from 50 a year ago, and has had to move out of central Helsinki to new, bigger headquarters next to mobile phone maker Nokia.
Peter Vesterbacka reiterated that Rovio was in no hurry for a public listing. Its last funding round was last year, when it raised $42 million from venture capital firms Accel, Atomico and Felicis Ventures.
He said Rovio had not needed the money and had raised the capital primarily to attract onto its board investors such as Atomico’s founder Niklas Zennstrom, a co-founder of Skype.
“This year we’ll be very busy, like we were last year, with building up the infrastructure,” said Peter Vesterbacka.
Finland-based Rovio Entertainment, the creator of the Angry Birds franchise, has announced its newest game ”Angry Birds Space”, which was developed in cooperation with NASA.
For nearly 3 years, millions of gamers have used physics in the battle between birds and pigs in the video game Angry Birds.
NASA and Rovio are working together to teach people about physics and space exploration through the internationally successful puzzle game.
Game developers have incorporated concepts of human space exploration into the new game. From the weightlessness of space to the gravity wells of nearby planets, players use physics as they explore the various levels of the game set both on planets and in microgravity.
“This collaboration began with a simple Twitter exchange about birds and pigs in space, and it has grown into a tremendous outreach and education opportunity,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
“Games are fun and entertaining, but they also can be inspirational and informative. This ongoing collaboration with Rovio and Angry Birds is an exciting way to get people engaged with NASA’s missions of exploration and discovery, and get students energized about future careers in science and technology.”
Rovio Entertainment, the creator of the Angry Birds franchise, has announced its newest game ”Angry Birds Space”, which was developed in cooperation with NASA
Aboard the International Space Station, Flight Engineer Don Pettit of NASA created a video using Angry Birds Space to explain how physics works in space, including demonstrating trajectories in microgravity by catapulting an Angry Bird through the space station. The video was shown this week to an audience at the South by Southwest Conferences and Festivals, an annual convention of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies in Austin, Texas. It is also available on NASA’s website at http://www.nasa.gov.
“We focused on every detail in development of Angry Birds Space to build a special experience for our fans,” said Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer and mighty eagle of Rovio Entertainment.
“I believe we have succeeded well with the game, and we wanted to create something as unique around our launch events. NASA has been the perfect partner for our Angry Birds Space program, and we can’t wait to work with them on creating more compelling educational experiences.”