Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment said sales jumped tenfold to $100 million last year as gamers flocked to download its titles, adding business was now strong enough for a stock market listing.
The Finnish startup making Angry Birds games — in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds’ eggs — has been valued by analysts at up to $9 billion, just short of that of struggling world No.2 phonemaker Nokia.
Rovio said on Monday its finances were good enough for a listing after revealing a highly profitable 2011 in its first public disclosure of business results and forecast a bumper year ahead.
Rovio, originally founded in 2003, became a global phenomenon after it launched Angry Birds for Apple’s iPhone in late 2009.
READ MORE: Angry Birds maker eyes IPO golden egg
The maker of the hit mobile game Angry Birds has struck a deal with Wal-Mart to embed clues to a new version of the game in merchandise sold in Wal-Mart stores, hoping to drive Angry Birds fans into the stores, and shoppers to the game.
The world’s biggest retailer will stock limited-edition T-shirts, soft toys and snacks containing clues that unlock bonus levels of Angry Birds Space, which will be available in app stores from Thursday.
Rovio, the Finnish start-up behind the world’s most downloaded mobile game, has ambitions to become a global entertainment brand. Its marketing chief told Reuters on Tuesday it was teaming up with a major U.S. retailer.
Read more: Wal-Mart to offer Angry Birds merch, clues
The Middle East has one of the fastest growing communities of online gamers in the world, and demographics mean this is likely to remain true for many years.
About 60 percent of the 350 million people in the Arab world are younger than 25, with internet penetration in the region at about 70 million users — over 300 percent growth in the last five years, according to numbers from United Arab Emirates-based entrepreneurship research portal Sindibad Business. Internet penetration is expected to reach 150 million users by 2015, said the portal’s founder Bahjat Homsi.
Such statistics are encouraging the rise of a small but dynamic video game development industry in the Arab world. At least six Arab game firms, most in Jordan, received funding from local investors in the last two years.