Angry Bird: NFC 101

Unlock levels with NFC in Angry Bird Magin

You may have seen companies like Apple, Google, VISA, Verifone, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and a whole host of other big companies are getting behind NFC as a payment transaction facilitator for mobile devices. But you know its real when Angry Bird enters the equation.  Ryan Kim at GigaOm points to a version release of Angry Bird by Nokia in conjunction with Rovio that requires NFC tagging to unlock levels.

From the post: “The game, which will be initially available exclusively on NFC-enabled Symbian C7 smartphones as part of the latest Symbian Anna update, will feature 20 levels, the first five of which can be played normally. After that, players will have to tap another NFC-enabled phone to unlock the next block of five levels. If a user can’t find another NFC-enabled phone, they can also unlock blocks of levels by waving their phones next to certain NFC tags embedded in objects. Nokia doesn’t say where those will be, but it might be tied to a retailer or chain, I’m guessing, perhaps in connection to a promotion.

While this has limited appeal for non-Symbian users and is more of a gimmicky promotion by Nokia, it still represents another way to exploit the power of NFC. As we’ve noted, NFC has been framed largely as a payment play, but it has a lot more uses outside of that, from mobile marketing and coupons, to app discovery and check-ins. What will help NFC take off and get embraced by users is real-world applications that have value for them.

In that light, it’s not a bad idea for Nokia to use Angry Birds to sell consumers on NFC. Social gaming is relatively comfortable ground upon which to introduce the short-range wireless technology. Angry Birds is not so popular that it would cause people to rush out and get an NFC-enabled Nokia smartphone, but it raises the awareness around the relatively young technology, which is necessary if NFC proponents wants to get the technology off the ground.”

Angry Bird Magic NFC Nokia

Robio CEO Mikael Hed

From the Nokia blog post: “With Angry Birds Magic, friends can group together to combat the pig menace, in a new take on the game that so many people all over the world have fallen love with,” said Mikael Hed from Rovio. “This is an exclusive offering with the Nokia C7, a smartphone that really kicks off the NFC experience for developers. In time, the communal power of users with Angry Birds Magic could prove even stronger than the Mighty Eagle.”

Nokia’s Bryan Biniak, head of Ovi Publish, told us: “Angry Birds Magic is a great demonstration of NFC technology and we’re delighted to have it exclusive to Nokia. It represents an exciting opportunity for developers to create new, innovative apps and games.”

About Daniel Davenport

Daniel is a digital media executive with internet and broadcast experience. Daniel is currently the executive strategy director at THINK Interactive.


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