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Angry Birds as a
Social Ne...
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Overview.
 Social Network...
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Social Network Markets (SN...
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Social Network Markets & A...
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As of 50 billion app downl...
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Situating Angry Birds …
 ...
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1. Spreadable Media
 Era ...
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Angry Birds as Remix / Mas...
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Angry Birds as Remix / Mas...
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Winning at traditional soc...
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Angry Birds Facebook Page ...
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Playable Angry Birds Cake ...
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Angry Birds Friends (Mobil...
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Less Copyright, More Sprea...
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Angry Birds Branding …
02 ...
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2. Paratexts?
 “paratexts...
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Paratextual Stories …
02 J...
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Original Star Wars figures...
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Angry Birds Star Wars figu...
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Political Commentary …
02 ...
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3. User Co-Creativity?
 W...
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Angry Rebels (April 2011)
...
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Angry Birds: Star Wars (No...
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Social Network Market Awar...
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App as Platform? Updatabil...
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Video content within the a...
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Rovio as Publisher …
02 Ju...
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IceBreaker (Nitrome / Rovi...
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Conclusion: The App as Pla...
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References
 Banks, J., & ...
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Questions or Comments?
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Angry Birds as a Social Network Market

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The hugely successful franchise Angry Birds by Finnish company Rovio is synonymous with the new and growing market of app-based games played on smartphones and tablets. These are often referred to as ‘casual games’, highlighting their design which rewards short bursts of play, usually on mobile media devices, rather than the sustained attention and dedicated hardware required for larger PC or console games. Significantly, there is enormous competition within the mobile games, while the usually very low cost (free, or just one or two dollars) makes a huge ranges of choices available to the average consumer. Moreover, these choices are usually framed by just one standardised interface, such as the Google Play store for Android powered devices, or the Apple App store for iOS devices. Within this plethora of options, I will argue that in addition to being well designed and enjoyable to play, successful mobile games are consciously situated within a social network market.

The concepts of ‘social network markets’ reframes the creative industries not so much as the generators of intellectual property outputs, but as complex markets in which the circulation and value of media is as much about taste, recommendations and other networked social affordances (Potts, Cunningham, Hartley, & Ormerod, 2008). For mobile games, one of the most effective methods of reaching potential players, then, is through the social attentions and activity of other players. Rovio have very deliberate in the wide-spread engagement with players across a range of social media platforms, promoting competitive play via Twitter and Facebook, highlighting user engagement such as showcasing Angry Birds themed cakes, and generally promoting fan engagement on many levels, encouraging the ‘spreadability’ of Angry Birds amongst social networks (Jenkins, Ford, & Green, 2013). In line with recognising the importance of engagement with the franchise, Rovio have also taken a very positive approach of unauthorised merchandising and knock-offs, especially in China and South-East Asia. In line with Montgomery and Potts’ (2008) argument that a weaker intellectual property approach will foster a more innovative creative industries in China, rather than attempting to litigate of lock down unauthorised material, Rovio have stated they see this as building awareness of Angry Birds and are working to harness this new, socially-driven market (Dredge, 2012). As Rovio now license everything from Angry Birds plush toys to theme parks, social network markets can be perpetuated even by unauthorised material, which builds awareness and interest in the official games and merchandising in the long run. Far from a standalone example, this paper argues that not only is Rovio consciously situating Angry Birds within a social network market model, but that such a model can drive other mobile games success in the future.

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Transcript of "Angry Birds as a Social Network Market"

  1. 1. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds as a Social Network Market 02 July 2013Dr Tama Leaver / @tamaleaver
  2. 2. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Overview.  Social Network Markets 1. Spreadability 2. Paratexts 3. Co-Creativity  Apps as Platforms? 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  3. 3. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Social Network Markets (SNMs)  Defines the Creative Industries in terms of markets rather than just industries (ie creators/producers).  Within a SNM, individuals decisions are largely based on the decisions of others.  Recommendations via social networks carry increasing value and influence on the choices of others.  “consumption is essentially constituted by complex social networks. The [Creative Industries] rely, to a greater extent than other socio-economic activity, on word of mouth, taste” (Potts et al 2008:169) 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  4. 4. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Social Network Markets & Apps … “The social network market dynamics characterizing how an app rises to a prominent position on Apple’s store sales chart suggests a new search strategy that cannot be quite encompassed by standard marketing classifications of demographic categories and associated social classifications of taste. The network, the social relations, is the source of value, perhaps even more so that the products.” (Banks, 2012, p. 165) 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  5. 5. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J As of 50 billion app downloads (May 2013) … Top 20 Paid Apps (iPad) 1.Pages 2.Angry Birds HD 3.Angry Birds Seasons HD 4.Where’s My Water 5.Fruit Ninja HD 6.Angry Birds Space HD 7.GarageBand 8.Words With Friends HD 9.Cut the Rope HD 10.Keynote 11.Numbers 12.Angry Birds Star Wars HD 13.GoodReader for iPad 14.SCRABBLE HD for iPad 15.Minecraft – Pocket Edition 16.Plants Vs Zombies HD 17.Notability 18.MONOPOLY for iPad 19.Quickoffice Pro HD 20.Star Walk HD 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference. Top 20 Paid Apps (iPhone) 1.Angry Birds 2.Fruit Ninja 3.Doodle Jump 4.Cut the Rope 5.Angry Birds Seasons 6.WhatsApp Messenger 7.Camera+ 8.Words with Friends 9.Tiny Wings 10.Angry Birds Space 11.Pocket God 12.Plants vs Zombies 13.THE GAME OF LIFE Classic Edition 14.The Moron Test 15.Where’s My Water? 16.Draw Something 17.MONOPOLY 18.Angry Birds Star Wars 19.MotionX GPS Drive 20.Skee-Ball
  6. 6. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Situating Angry Birds …  In 2013 an average of just over 4000 game apps submitted per month to the App store.  18 June 2013: 152,032 games apps, (16.9% of apps in the App Store)  Argument: the ‘casual’ mobile Angry Birds franchise of is the ‘Star Wars’ of apps: a behemoth harbinger of an app landscape driven by social network markets. 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  7. 7. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J 1. Spreadable Media  Era dominated by plenitude, not scarcity (eg App Store!).  Emphasises agency in engaging with / spreading media (as opposed to the infections of ‘viral’ media).  Engaging users in meaningful participation matters, both including the ability to reshape media via mashups and remix. - Jenkins, Ford, & Green, 2013. 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  8. 8. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds as Remix / Mashup … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  9. 9. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds as Remix / Mashup … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  10. 10. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Winning at traditional social networks … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  11. 11. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds Facebook Page Curating Fan Creations … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  12. 12. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Playable Angry Birds Cake … Source: http://youtu.be/-hwVRzaQNkA Instructions: http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2011/02/21/bake-your-own-playable-angry-birds-cake/ 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  13. 13. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds Friends (Mobile & Facebook) 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  14. 14. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Less Copyright, More Spreadability …  "I realised that China was already happening in a big way for us … When you see all these knockoffs, you know that there is a lot of demand." - Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio CMO (‘Mighty Eagle’)  A weaker intellectual property approach in China (ie not trying to strictly enforce trademarks or prevent knock- offs) can kick-start social network market demand. - Montgomery & Potts, 2008.  Now official, licensed Angry Birds theme parks are being built in China! 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  15. 15. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds Branding … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference. Licensing worth 30% of Rovio’s $US100 million income in 2011, est. 50+% in 2012.
  16. 16. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J 2. Paratexts?  “paratexts are not simply add-ons, spinoffs, and also-rans: they create texts, they manage them, and they fill them with many of the meanings that we associate with them. … a paratext constructs, lives in, and can affect the running of the text.” (Gray, 2010, p. 6)  For Angry Birds, casual games have less rigid narrative world = more paratextual possibilities.  Everyday locations of mobile may also situate gameplay within broader contexts and stories (see Hjorth & Richardson, 2009 on ‘home-in-the-hand’). 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  17. 17. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Paratextual Stories … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  18. 18. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Original Star Wars figures (1977) 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  19. 19. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds Star Wars figures. Source: http://io9.com/angry-birds-goes-classic-star-wars-in-this-sdcc-exclusi-510296105 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  20. 20. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Political Commentary … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference. Three Big Pigs: http://youtu.be/q0i9acHS_zQ (2.5 million views)
  21. 21. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J 3. User Co-Creativity?  Work on user co-creativity usually centred on larger games, explicating the mutual value to game designers and users of broader creative inputs.  Boundaries between creators and consumers permeating.  Co-creative involvement is seen as integral to social network markets, but also risky as more involved users can also become the harshest and loudest critics (Banks & Humphreys 2008; Banks and Potts 2010). 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  22. 22. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Rebels (April 2011) http://www.bite.ca/bitedaily/2011/04/angry-star-birds/ & http://www.bite.ca/bitedaily/2011/04/angry-birds-and-star-wars-part-ii/ 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  23. 23. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Angry Birds: Star Wars (November 2012) 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  24. 24. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Social Network Market Awareness … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference. http://angrybirds.tumblr.com/
  25. 25. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J App as Platform? Updatability …  Games are never ‘finished’ but always updating and updatable.  Developments in later games (eg special powers in AB:SW) can be integrated into earlier AB games during updates.  Always possible to integrate new channels after release (app can point to, play or integrate other media).  Updatability maximizes ongoing social network market presence and engagement. 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  26. 26. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Video content within the app …  Cartoons and elaborate Rovio video advertisements based on the games.  Elaborates the narrative world of the Angry Birds characters.  Already advertising in these channels: trailers for feature films! 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  27. 27. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Rovio as Publisher … 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  28. 28. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J IceBreaker (Nitrome / Rovio Stars) …  In-game advertising (beginning of Angry Birds: Star Wars). 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  29. 29. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Conclusion: The App as Platform?  The casual & mobile characteristics lead to open narrative realms, encouraging spreadable media and paratextual activity.  User co-creation is more about social network market awareness and responsiveness than wholesale creative input.  Moving away from the iPhone/App Store as platform, apps themselves are increasingly driven by a platform logic.  Rovio & Angry Birds don’t just participate in a social network market, but harness one within their own app offerings. 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  30. 30. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J References  Banks, J., & Humphreys, S. (2008). The Labour of User Co-Creators: Emergent Social Network Markets? Convergence, 14(4), 401–418.  Banks, J., & Potts, J. (2010). Co-creating games: a co-evolutionary analysis. New Media Society, 12(2), 253–270.  Banks, J. (2012). The iPhone as Innovation Platform: Reimagining the Videogames Developer. In L. Hjorth, J. Burgess, & I. Richardson (Eds.), Studying Mobile Media: Cultural Technologies, Mobile Communication, and the iPhone (1st ed., pp. 155–172). London and New York: Routledge.  Hjorth, L., & Richardson, I. (2009). The Waiting Game: Complicating Notions of (Tele)presence and Gendered Distraction in Casual Mobile Gaming. Australian Journal of Communication, 36(1), 23–35.  Jenkins, H., Ford, S., & Green, J. (2013). Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. New York and London: New York University Press.  Montgomery, L., & Potts, J. (2008). Does weaker copyright mean stronger creative industries? Some lessons from China. Creative Industries Journal, 1(3), 245–261. doi:10.1386/cij.1.3.245/1  Potts, J., Cunningham, S., Hartley, J., & Ormerod, P. (2008). Social network markets: a new definition of the creative industries. Journal of Cultural Economics, 32(3), 167–185. doi:10.1007/s10824-008-9066-y 02 July 2013Social, Casual, Mobile: Changing Games Preconference.
  31. 31. Curtin University is a trademark of Curtin University of Technology CRICOS Provider Code 00301J Questions or Comments? Or find me later … www.tamaleaver.net @tamaleaver t.leaver@curtin.edu.au

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