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RIP Angry Birds

Rovio recently announced that it would remove "Rovio Classics: Angry Birds" from the Google Play store on February 23. That might not be too much of a shock to some people since the original version of the mobile game was first released over 13 years ago, but it's still surprising given the social impact that the title has had. Not only have there been several "Angry Birds" sequels and spin offs, but the franchise has expanded to include two movies and a plethora of merchandise bearing images of these heavily eyebrowed avian critters. Stranger still, the title is being renamed to "Red's First Flight" in the App Store.

The video game landscape's relationship with preservation has always been tenuous at best, but the mobile game industry is particularly volatile. Any fan who's ever been tempted to redownload an old game they liked from a few years ago might easily discover that the game that they spent money on and once loved to play isn't supported by modern hardware or, as is about to be the case with "Angry Birds," simply no longer exists on the store. "Angry Birds" isn't some tiny little game from an unknown studio, though – it's a cultural phenomenon. This has prompted many fans to question why Rovio Entertainment might have chosen to take it down.

Angry Birds might be too popular for its own good

Rovio's Twitter announcement stated that it is taking "Angry Birds" down "due to the game's negative impact on [Rovio's] wider gaming portfolio." This vague explanation doesn't specifically address how it has negatively impacted the studio's other games, however, leaving fans to draw their own conclusions from the information available. Some have speculated that negative reviews of the game are harming the company's image, though this idea doesn't hold much weight since "Rovio Classics: Angry Birds" has maintained a score of 4.7/5 of the Google Play store.

The purveying theory is that the "Angry Birds" remake has been accruing too much attention and that it's siphoning prospective players away from Rovio's newer games – ones that just so happen to contain significantly more microtransactions. One user wrote in response to Rovio's announcement, "Translation: 'the games [aren't] full with MTX so we [don't] wanna keep [them] online.'" This has led many fans to the conclusion that Rovio's decision to remove the game is anti-consumer, and some of them seem to believe that it will drive away many of the people who once loved the franchise.

Those who already own "Angry Birds" and have it downloaded will continue to be able to play it for the foreseeable future.