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Monday, March 14, 2011

'Angry Birds Rio' Debuting Via Amazon App Store

The Android App Store has yet to officially launch, but one of its first apps will be "Angry Birds Rio," game developer Rovio confirmed Monday.

The new version of the popular game, which ties into the Twentieth Century Fox movie "Rio," will debut exclusively on the Android App Store. Amazon did not say when its App Store will launch, but Rovio said Angry Birds Rio will be available on March 22.

The Amazon App Store will also feature ad-free versions of Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons, Rovio said. The games are currently available for free on the Android Market with ads; Rovio did not say how much the ad-free versions will cost, but they are $0.99 via the Apple App Store.

"The Android platform has seen phenomenal growth, and it's great that new avenues for app distribution are opening up," Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, said in a statement. "The openness of the Android platform works for the benefit of consumers and developers alike. It has been delightful to team up with Amazon to bring the Angry Birds franchise to this great new application marketplace."

Angry Birds Rio will launch with 60 levels, with more content to follow via app updates, Rovio said. It will also be released via the App Store for iOS users.

Amazon announced in January that it was building its own app store, opening a developer portal for those interested in creating apps for Android-based devices. Earlier this month, there were reportsthat the store would launch in late March, but Amazon has not yet made any announcements.

Amazon better make sure it can withstand the Angry Birds onslaught. When Rovio first launched the Android version of Angry Birds, it was distributed through independent app store GetJar. The overwhelming demand for the game, however, quickly took down the GetJar and Rovio Web sites, prompting Rovio to also offer Angry Birds via the Android Market.

Rovio announced plans for Angry Birds Rio in January. It will be released as a tie-in with the movie, which follows a macaw named Blu, who leaves his native Minnesota for Rio when he meets Jewel, the bird of his dreams. It will be in theaters starting April 15.

Rovio made headlines this weekend when "Mighty Eagle" Peter Vesterback was quoted at SXSW as saying that console games are dying. Rovio later tweeted that "the comment wasn't that console games [are] dying, [but] about the business model of shipping plastic discs. Digital wins."

Vesterback was "just saying [the] iPad3 and 4 will be out before next console generation," Roviotweeted in another message.


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