Rovio Classics: Angry Bird was delistedon Android and renamed on Apple not due to an effect on revenue for other games, but because the presence of the game pushed them out of the top search results, says Rovio.
Speaking exclusively to gaming industry newsletter Axios, Rovio explained that the game’s name had been pushing other titles down in searches for the Angry Birds franchise. According to Rovio, this had an impact on installs, not on sales, as users only saw Rovio Classics: Angry Birds and its $1 price-tag, before bouncing off the search without exploring further.
Rovio had already tried a number of fixes, including renaming the app from the original Angry Birds to Rovio Classics: Angry Birds, removing the title from the game’s metadata and more. “The failure of those attempted remedies left the company ‘no choice but to do something a little bit more drastic’ to prove its hypothesis,” writes Stephen Totilo.
The delisting was considered a weapon of last resort in this case, and although the game remains available on iOS (under the name Red’s First Flight)if this fails to fix the problem then it may face a similar fate as its Android brother which has been completely deleted from the app store. According to Rovio’s head of Angry Birds strategy, Ben Mattes, “We’ve spent the last, whatever it is, 10 or 11 months trying to solve this problem.”
There have been concerns raised that discoverability on many first-party stores such as Android and iOS has been much more difficult for developers and publishers recently, and it seems even a major mobile monolith like Rovio is not immune.
Rovio faced much speculation that the availability and single purchase price-tag of Rovio Classics: Angry Birds had been taking money from their other, free, titles. But it appears that the issue may have been much more ephemeral and much more difficult even for them to fix.