Rovio Games announced yesterday that it will remove the paid version of the app from the Google Play Store “due to the game’s impact on our wider games portfolio” on Thursday, February 23. The studio’s other games are all free-to-play titles featuring microtransactions while the original Rovio Classics: Angry Birds just features one price paid upfront. Now, fans are upset the developer is choosing microtransactions as its primary business strategy.
“Additionally, the game will be renamed to Red’s First Flight in the App Store pending further review. Rovio: Classics Angry Birds will remain playable on devices on which the game has been downloaded, even after it has been delisted,” the tweet from Rovio Games continued.
The classic Angry Birds game is the only one you can get for a one-time purchase without micro-transactions, which has lots of people thinking that the studio is choosing profits over the players who made the franchise popular. And gamers are already on edge over the possibility that studios might stop making premium experiences once they see the amount of money microtransactions can rake in. Rovio Games’ statement seems to all but confirm that very idea.
“The main focus of the company needs to be looking forward, into the future and our live games,” community manager Shawn Buckelew said in the studio’s official Discord server. “That’s what’s needed for the business. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to bring back some of these classic, nostalgic experiences, but we have to be more creative and figure out solutions where we can do that without harming the live games and the main source of our business.”
So while classics weren’t entirely canceled, Buckelew added that he didn’t want to “overpromise” while the company didn’t have any concrete plans to bring the old games back. So there’s still a chance that Android fans will still get to play the first Angry Birds some time in the future. For now, the only way to ensure access is to buy and download the game before the store page goes dark.
The community manager tried to ease fans’ upset by claiming that those who already own the classic game would be unaffected. Of course, this is ignoring the possibility that you might have to redownload the game in the future. And it still sucks that new players won’t be able to access the original title. Rovio Classics: Angry Birds is a culturally significant game that became a cornerstone of mobile gaming history. This is a massive blow to games preservation and to those who care about gaming history. Kotaku reached out to Rovio Games to ask if the App Store version of Red’s First Flight will be considered for delisting, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
Rovio Classics: Angry Birds will go dark tomorrow. So if you intend to buy the game before then, make sure that you actually download the app.