Peter Vesterbacka, also known as ”Mighty Eagle” is an entrepreneur, multiple founder, and mobile game developer of the highly famous mobile game Angry Birds. Peter created the wildly successful Angry Birds entertainment franchise that took over the whole world and developed over 50 other games. In 2011 Time Magazine recognized Peter as one of the most influential people in the World in their TIME 100 Listing. Now, Peter continues his work as an investor and advisor to growing companies and he is a professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Interesting Facts about Angry Birds
- Angry Birds was the first mobile game that had over 100 million downloads in the first year! Considering it was in 2010 when smart phones were still not that sophisticated, it was a great success! Now there is around 5 billion downloads of Angry Birds.
- Angry Birds game was downloaded even in the remotest parts of Antarctica.
- Angry Birds Space was the first game launched in space! It was launched on an International Space Station (ISS) in collaboration with NASA.
On March 24th, Peter had a conversation with Moonshot Pirates on how to create an international brand that takes over the world! Would you like to know more? Then continue reading! We have collected some parts from the interview with Peter for you!
Peter, could you tell us why you chose ‘Angry Birds’, what prompted your decision? Why a bird?
This time, with the original Angry Birds game, it was not a usual process of making a game. A person that was creating game characters was drawing these bird characters for many years and was pitching a game idea to the company. The idea did not go through but everyone fell in love with the birds. So we decided we have to build the game around those birds. And that’s what happened over the next eight months. Usually, when you are building a game, you start with a game mechanics and then later you create characters and a story but in our case it actually started with the original ‘Angry Bird’.
About the story of creating Angry Birds:
I was working at Hewlett and Packard when in 2003 I organized a game making competition. It was a time when Nokia, another Finish company, was still making phones. They have just come up with one of their first smart phones. Three young Finish guys from Alto university, Jarno, Kim and Niklas, won the mentioned gaming competition and came to me, as an organizer, to ask for advice what to do next. I have told them that if they are passionate about gaming, they should create their own company. And that’s what they did. They started the company called Rovio. And then over the next six years they made another 51 games. And, the fifty-second game was the Angry Birds. Here again, I would like you to say that it was not an overnight success, it took them six years and 52 games to create this groundbreaking success. But after all, Angry Birds became the fastest growing consumer brand. When you think about it you could actually say that Angry Birds started as a student project.
My advice to all the people is that you should do what you love to do. That is very important. That’s why I became an entrepreneur, so I can do what I love.Peter Vesterbacka
As we have heard that ‘Angry Birds’ was the fifty-second game of Rovio, what do you think made it stand out from the rest of the games?
If you look at the previous games of Rovio, they were not failures. Actually, some of them were pretty successful. One of the elements to consider is that the market changed a lot with release of the iPhone and Android phones. The market became more open. Nowadays, with the App Store and Play Store it is much easier to publish your game. So all of the sudden, making great games mattered. When we are thinking about making a hit game, a hit movie or anything else a hit, it matters that we don’t do only one thing right, we must do everything right. And of course, on top of that you need a bit of luck as well. Many people are saying that great athletes are very lucky. Yes, they might be lucky but only because they train a lot. You should not be scared of failure. You learn by doing, so of course it involves both, failure and success.
How do you keep on persistently working on new ideas? What kind of mindset do you need?
It starts with the recommendation I am giving to everyone, you should do what you love to do. You can’t just think about making a lot of money, though it is great if that happens as well. For us it was more about creating games we would love to play ourselves.
When you embark on an entrepreneurial journey, it is mostly because you love doing something. Then the motivation comes very easily.Peter Vesterbacka
As Moonshot Pirates, we are trying to make the world a better place, do you think computer games can contribute to that mission?
I believe that for sure the games can contribute to making the world a better place. One example of that is that no matter what game you play, you always learn something. Let’s take Pokemon as an example. So many children around the world know Pokemon, and not only Pikachu but they can probably name another hundred Pokemons and their characteristics. Now you will argue that how is this learning useful? Most probably it is not but it shows that by playing, these people have learnt all this information. So why not use the same approach in chemistry, physics or other areas? It is then about creating these learning experiences which, in the end are the games.
Learning experiences should be as good as the best game.Peter Vesterbacka
Interested to hear more from the interview? You can watch the full recording from the actual interview: