Well, who would’ve thunk? When I began writing about NFC (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and GPS (my most recent post) and how they are impacting the mobile phone market, little did I consider their intersection. Until now!
If you haven’t heard of Angry Birds, well, I wouldn’t fault you. I myself, heard of them the last year. Angry Birds is a very addictive game developed by Finland based company called Rovio that has a very large following – it recently surpassed the 250 Million download mark and currently has more than a million downloads a day. That should say something – right? Very briefly, it is a game (even a puzzle) that consists of a bunch of birds who are angry because some bad pigs stole their eggs. And to vent out their anger (and your’s), these birds can be launched at these pigs using a slingshot with the objective of destroying these wretched pigs. The pigs hide behind structures that can collapse when the bird hits these structures and die under the weight of these structures. There are different types of pigs just as there are various types of angry birds. And like every good game, there are twists and there are levels. My description may not do justice to this game – so download it and play the same to find out! Bottom line is that Angry Birds is a runaway success and has now become a franchise of sorts with merchandising, PC/Console based games and even a movie in the works among other things.
Ok..fine, now what’s that got to do with NFC and GPS? Good question. The answer is “Angry Birds Magic” – a new release of the game intially targetted towards NFC enabled (specifically, Nokia) phones. Players can unlock new levels in the game when they ‘Tap the Tag’ (the NFC tag, that is) or when they bump two NFC enable phones. These tags can be in magazines, smart posters, merchandise etc.
What about the intersection with GPS? Recognizing that it’s going be a while before all phones are NFC enabled, Rovio has extended the magic to all GPS enabled smartphones. Meaning, when players arrive at a certain location, new levels are unlocked for them. There are even rewards! Some locations may also contain leaderboards so that players can demonstrate their ‘Angry Bird’ prowess. According to the company, all of this allows for the players to also interact with the environment that they are in. And of course, not to forget the various opportunities to monetize these features by not only Rovio but also the merchants.
This is indeed fascinating and yet another example of how apps are interacting with the real world. But, little did I imagine that at the intersection of the NFC and GPS roads will I find …….. Angry Birds!