Can There Be Another Rovio? Outfit7 Wants to Give It a Shot.
Outfit7 says its games on the iPhone and iPad have hit more than 300 million downloads since launching a year and a half ago.
At that size, it claims to have outpaced Rovio’s Angry Birds, which took 20 months to hit 300 million.
If you haven’t heard of Outfit7, it’s probably because it hasn’t raised any institutional venture capital, it wasn’t founded in the U.S., and much of its application usage is spread across 120 countries.
But the company’s franchise of apps called Talking Friends, which are sort of like a modern-day Neopets, is gathering a large base of users.
The characters include Talking Tom Cat, Talking Ben the Dog and Talking Harry the Hedgehog — in other words, many more brands than Angry Birds alone. Of the 14 in existence, Talking Tom Cat is the most popular, having been downloaded 100 million times.
The animals serve as a virtual pet, which responds to your touch and repeats everything that you say. You can pet him, poke him or grab his tail. A popular activity is to record videos of the pet and send them to friends.
The number of users who come back to the app is impressive, with more than 90 million monthly active users worldwide. The company also averages more than 25 million downloads per month.
Executive Chairman Narry Singh believes Rovio and Outfit7 have similar growth trajectories; and like Rovio, which was able to create a strong brand from Angry Birds, Outfit7 is angling to create brands, as well.
Today, Outfit7 has offices in Palo Alto, Calif., as well as Slovenia, Cyprus, London and Seoul, South Korea. Its apps are primarily free, but users can make in-app purchases to buy virtual goods.
The company is also announcing today that it is partnering with Iconicfuture and Digital Artists to bring branded virtual goods to Talking Tom Cat. In a testament to its international pull, the merchandise will represent six of the world’s most popular soccer clubs, from Spain, Italy, England, France and Portugal.
Of course, Outfit7 is not the first company to want to replicate Rovio’s successes.
In the end, it won’t be important which company got to 300 million downloads the fastest, but which one was able to build a more long-term and sustainable company.
When you look at it in those terms, the jury is still out on Rovio, as well.