Angry Birds boss believes console gaming is "dying"

A benefit to making one of the most successful mobile games on the planet is it gives one the right to predict the death of traditional gaming without being immediately laughed out of the room. Over the weekend, Rovio boss and Angry Bird's lead developer Peter Vesterbacka exercised that right during a  panel discussion at the South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, where he insisted console games were 'dying', and mobile games were now the true source of innovation.

In a talk that took place Sunday afternoon, Vesterbacka argued mobile developers were more 'nimble' than traditional studios, and therefore able to offer better content at a greater frequency than their console competition. Though he admitted Rovio has yet to figure out the ideal business model for mobile gaming, Vesterbacka said charging upwards of $50 for games that are “difficult to upgrade” cannot fly for very much longer.

Opining on the “casual gaming” label itself, Vesterbacka added the term was well past its expiration date and not at all reflective of the creative and substantial work coming out of the mobile and social gaming industry.

These are tough words from a studio that's only been in the spotlight for a couple years. Still, Angry Birds is reported to have surpassed 100 million downloads this past Saturday, and Rovio recently secured a $42 million investment from two noted venture capital firms, Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures. Who knows, maybe there's some truth to what the little birds are telling us.

[Source: GamesBeat]

Mar 14, 2011

Got a news tip? Let us know at

Angry Birds animated series entering production 
Cartoon based on Rovio’s top-selling iOS app coming soon


Casual gaming can treat depression (according to study backed by giant casual games developer) 
Bejwelled and Peggle proven to lift moods in US research underwritten by PopCap Games


Remedy co-founder leaves to launch Angry Birds revolution 
Petri Järvilehto hired as Rovio's Senior VP of Console Development




  • polarp - April 2, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    Without console games, what would I do with my 50" TV?
  • BeatDown - March 21, 2011 9:08 p.m.

    Can you believe this guy?! Console gaming dying? Ha!!!
  • Nolidusk - March 19, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL Dumbest shit ever heard you think your angry birds will match Snake,Master Chief, Mario, Link, Pokemon, Niko, Dante, NATHAN DRAKE? lulz what a n00b
  • xlyesterdaylx - March 17, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    This guy is full of himself.
  • grayguwapo - March 16, 2011 5 a.m.

    What a maroon! Surely mobile games are at the top of their games right now and many are quite good... but this is just a share of the whole pie... as much as mobile games are good, they can never surpass the quality and feel of console games... this is just plain moronic and arrogant...
  • Dan. - March 16, 2011 4:56 a.m.

    Im pretty sure angry birds has been downloaded that many times because its free. its fun but i wouldn't pay for it. Maybe he should look at sales for Black ops and the hundreds of other games that come out year after year that people continue to buy
  • markshell - March 15, 2011 11:14 p.m.

    I KIND of agree with him in a way. There will be a time where mobile game machines will have enough horsepower to surpass consoles as we know, because that's what happens with every technology. Everything keeps getting smaller. Remember those floppy 1.4MB disks from the 90's? Today we have bitesize Micro SD cards with 32+ GB. It doesn't mean we'll stop playing HD games on our big ass tvs, it just means that in the future console games will be ALSO portable. So he's not entirely wrong, he's just thinking WAY ahead of his time.
  • OneEyedGoon - March 15, 2011 10:12 p.m.

    What creative and substantial work?
  • lionmaru - March 15, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    the guy make a success with a gameplay that already existed in so many flash games around and now is talking about "innovation". Yes yes... talk about marketing man, your team knows about that, not innovation...
  • Gob - March 15, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    What innovation? He made a 2D game that involves launching birds at pigs. That's about as innovative as Farmville. When he makes a real game, he can talk.
  • QWERTYCommander - March 15, 2011 6:46 p.m.

    @FoxdenRacing You didn't describe EA. You described Activision. Also, the guy is a dickwipe. Literally. I want to use his face to clean up after jacking off. Angry Birds is a glorified flash game, period.
  • ricsuave - March 15, 2011 5:42 p.m.

    I think he and Reggie Fils-Aime should duel to the death!
  • alphaman - March 15, 2011 5:26 p.m.

    I love how "angry birds", a clone of any castle crashers games (of which there are way too many) is saying any game is dying. >.> You cashed in on an already existing fad. Big whoop.
  • Manguy17 - March 15, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    he says this with so many great console games coming out, probably the best this console generation, which in turn has more great games than even decent ios games. not to mention that his "orignal" game is just a free flash game, re-skinned to flick birds into a wall.
  • MancisFrorkYorgan - March 15, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    "Difficult to upgrade"? Hard copies of console games are upgraded in much the same way as iPhone games are.
  • FoxdenRacing - March 15, 2011 4:39 p.m.

    @Tiki: You have no idea how correct you really are, on both counts. I know it was an attempt at cynicism, but it rings true. 5-hour-playthrough, no-replay-value games going for full price and cheap plastic gimmick peripherals [Dreamcast fishing rod, light guns, sharpshooter] are a show of just how sick the industry is. Real games...those that can be replayed to mastery, those that provide hundreds or thousands of hours of entertainment...have nothing to fear from cruft like Angry Birds. But...pointless 'once and done' minigames are a threat to pointless 'once and done' full games, especially for those gamers that don't rely on whether or not they get a graphics boner to deem something 'worthwhile'. @SteveST: That's what I thought he was getting at too, but I've read transcripts elsewhere...he *is* saying 'All glory to the minigame time-waster!' I've been saying for years that the industry is crumbling under the weight of its own hubris, largely due to the west's big 5 [EA, THQ, Ubi, Activision, Take2]...but Sony's guilty as well. The business model of 'blockbuster' gaming is dying a slow, painful death, and it looks like it's not going to see it coming until it's terminal. It won't today, it won't'll be a long, slow, painful death that's at least 5 years in the making now. Sales are increasing linearly, development costs (and especially marketing costs) are increasing exponentially. It's only a matter of time until the budgets get larger to the point they can't be profitable no matter how hard they try. The big 5's reliance on DLC is hinting towards that already, with how many talking heads hail how DLC can make anything profitable. Personally, I'm waiting for it. I'm looking forward to it. The major players in publishing no longer care about gamers, or even about games. They've become in it first, last, and only for the money. EA is a perfect example...buying up passionate developers and turning them into soul-less sequel factories (RIP: Bioware, Westwood, Lionhead, Bullfrog, Origin Systems, and countless others). They give us Skinner Boxes and Marketing Blitzes, betting that we'll never become bored of playing 'Game 2012: It's new because it has a different year at the end!', the critically-acclaimed-by-company-employees reskin of Game 2011...and if we're lucky, we'll get a meaningless incremental upgrade that in no way justifies paying full price again; half of today's big-ticket games would be better off as expansion packs for yesterday's big-ticket games. The industry needs rebooted from time to time, and it's long overdue; the last industry reboot was the mid-1990s, when Nintendo fell from grace...creating a power vacuum for Sony to reinvent and reinvigorate the industry [before becoming the very thing they started out the antithesis of...a self-styled 'all-powerful monolith']. The first was the industry crash of 1983, which allowed Nintendo to rise in the first place. Angry Birds is an unimaginative but highly polished rehash of flash games dating back 7-8 years, and this guy's a complete tool. Live Arcade/PSN Games, however...that's likely where you'll see the trends headed. Smaller studios such as Double Fine have already jumped ship. Smaller budgets, much more favorable publishing agreements...the only thing a studio needs to go that route is enough money in the bank to cover their first project. The current model, however, is unsustainable in the long term. An increase of just $1M to the budget...assuming a $10 unit price [double what my source attributes to it]...adds 100,000 copies to the break-even price. With development costs rising fivefold to tenfold every generation (a AAA NES game cost 50-75k to make; Killzone 3 ran upwards of $40M, average today is ~$20M), it's going to get even worse. When the 8th generation arrives, an increase from $20M to $100M [fivefold] would mean a distinctly average game needs to move 10 million copies just to pay for the development costs [again, assuming $10 unit cost]...that doesn't count pressing the discs, warehousing them, corporate overhead, cross-platform ports, or covering the cost of advertising. Big-ticket games could see budgets as high as $200M [20m copies to cover dev costs]. This mean the sales of such heavy hitters as Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, and Fallout: New Vegas would not be enough to cover just the development costs for an 8th-gen game. Not even GT5 or Modern Warfare 2 made it. Oblivion didn't. Fallout 3 didn't. Even Black Ops' immense sales numbers would just *barely* break even for the dev costs of next generation's games. It can't go on like this...something's going to break, and it's going to break before the end of next generation. Sources:, "cost of development and publishing"
  • chiz - March 15, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    is he serious? sure maybe $50 seems like a ridiculous price at first but you pay for the quality of the game, angry birds is a good game and I'll admit that but look at just about every other iphone/android game their all shitty games that aren't worth anyones time and are better off not being made at all, console games are more expensive because their worth more than a repetitive $2 game.
  • boondocks50 - March 15, 2011 4:05 p.m.

    hahaha what an idiotic statement
  • mcom234 - March 15, 2011 3:28 p.m.

    Translation: Guise i'm really sick of all of you spending your money on consoloe games. Besides console games aren't even cool anymore bro. Buy moar Angry birds.Cuz I's wants moar moneyz. p.s what's up with these captchas? i swear i just got one of the characters was a freakin a pi symbol. end rant
  • Tikicobra - March 15, 2011 3:07 p.m.

    Obviously console gaming is dying, and that's why I'm paying $60 for a 5 - 10 hour game. This guy's a dick. And Angry Birds sucks.

Showing 1-20 of 81 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000