Opportunity costs and software platforms

We can get some insights on opportunity costs and mobile software platforms from a very popular game, Angry Birds, and its new release Angry Birds Space

Angry Birds Space costs:

  • free on Android (ads funded),
  • $0.99 on Amazon
  • $2.99 on iPad,
  • $4.99 on Mac,
  • $0.99 on iPhone,
  • $7.8 on PC,
  • no Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Bada, Symbian or S40 versions

Some platforms have higher costs to develop for, either because it is more complex and it requires more time to create a product or do not have enough volume to justify the investments, and resources are better invested somewhere else (this is called opportunity cost).

What it is strange is that the PC version costs more than the Mac version, after all Microsoft is still the dominant player for desktop operating systems. Or probably because of that larger market share and the lack of price elasticity on the demand that Rovio (the company that created Angry Birds) can ask for a higher price.

In smartphones, the number and quality of applications are important as they extend the capabilities of the device and contribute to the success of the software platform. The lack of apps can affect sales. An article on Bloomberg discuss, specifically of this case: ‘Angry Birds’ Space Edition Skips Windows Phone in Blow to Nokia

Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer of the game’s maker, Rovio Entertainment Oy, said:

“If you look at activations, Apple’s iOS and Android are clearly bigger than any other platform,” Vesterbacka said. “We want to be on all screens, but we have to consider the cost of supplying the smaller platforms. With Windows Phone it’s a lot of work to technically support it.”


There will be a Windows Phone 7 version of Angry Birds. From Reuters:

Finnish gaming firm Rovio is working on getting its new Angry Birds Space game to Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform (WP7), its chief executive said on Friday, dismissing earlier media reports which said the top gaming firm was dumping the platform.