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Angry Birds to swoop on Formula One track

September 22, 2011 15:55 IST

Angry Birds will migrate from cellphone screens to the Formula One racetrack this weekend in Singapore, as the firm behind the mobile gaming sensation rolls out a crowd game to be played by live audiences.

Angry BirdsGaming firm Rovio has teamed up with Singapore Telecommunications for the Singapore launch, having created the crowd game with Finnish startup Uplause Ltd, the creators of the world's first live event gaming platform.

"We think this new form of gaming will give fans a great opportunity to form a strong emotional connection with the characters," Rovio's marketing chief Peter Vesterbacka said in a statement.

Unlike most mobile-game crazes, Angry Birds -- in which players use a slingshot to attack the pigs who stole the birds' eggs -- has stayed at the top of the charts.

In the crowd game, viewers control the slingshot on jumbo screens with their voices.

After Singapore, Rovio and Uplause plan to take the new gaming experience to the biggest live events in the world -- to sports stadiums and rock concerts.

The gaming company is expanding the brand across traditional merchandising, to things such as toys and baby products, and is talking to film studios about taking the birds to the big screen.

Earlier this year, Rovio raised $42 million from venture capital firms in an investment co-led by Accel Partners, which has previously backed Facebook and Baidu, and Skype founder Niklas Zennstroem's venture capital firm Atomico Ventures.

Rovio was founded in 2003 after three students including Niklas Hed -- CEO Mikael Hed's cousin and now Rovio's COO -- won a game-development competition sponsored by Nokia Oyj and Hewlett-Packard CO. It changed its name from Relude in 2005.

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