* New game Amazing Alex becomes No 1 paid app
* Angry Birds games total downloads top 1 bln
By Tarmo Virki
HELSINKI, July 12 The first non-Angry Birds game
in more than two years from Rovio Entertainment hit No. 1 on
download charts on Thursday, showing the Finnish startup behind
the world-famous gaming franchise was more than a one-hit
Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds games - in which players use
a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds' eggs - has been
valued by analysts at $6 billion to $9 billion, roughly on par
with struggling cross-town phone maker Nokia.
Rovio's new puzzle game, Amazing Alex, became the No 1 paid
app on the key United States app store shortly after the launch.
Amazing Alex is a physics-based game that features challenges
that curious boy Alex has to solve.
"Launching new franchises has turned out to be tough for
even the most successful app vendors, but Amazing Alex reached
the Number One position in the iPhone Paid App chart in eight
hours," said analyst Tero Kuittinen from Finnish mobile firm
"This is the fastest time to hit the Number One position in
America - without help from being a sequel, a movie tie-in or an
extension of an existing brand."
Rovio, founded in 2003, became a global phenomenon after it
launched Angry Birds for Apple Inc's iPhone in late
2009 and has since focused on turning out sequels of the
This has helped it to remain at the top of gaming charts,
with more than a billion downloads, and it had 200 million
monthly users at the end of 2011, compared with U.S.-based Zynga
Inc's 240 million.
Rovio's sales jumped 10-fold to $100 million last year as
gamers flocked to download its titles and the firm has said it
was considering going public.
Last year, Rovio raised $42 million from venture capital
firms, including Accel Partners, which previously backed
Facebook and Baidu, and Skype founder Niklas Zennstroem's
venture capital firm, Atomico Ventures.
Nokia shares closed at 1.548 euros on Thursday, valuing the
company at 5.8 billion euros ($7.07 billion).