Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]
In the crowded iOS game market, a success story is brewing for the Lebanese team behind Birdy Nam Nam, a game available in the iTunes App Store. Launched on August 22nd, the game has already clocked over 400,000 downloads in less than a week.
The 3-man team, consisting of Lebnan Nader, Arz Nader and JC, initially released the game in three versions – a free ‘lite’ version containing only 4 levels, a full $0.99 version, and a full HD version for $1.99. A few days after its release, the team decided to offer the iPhone/iPad game for free. Nader told The Next Web:
“We realized that we drifted from the concept we started with.. basically, back in March, we wanted something fun, for us and our friends, and for the Arabic [speaking] people to enjoy, and that was it! So by labeling a price on the game we thought that we got a bit carried away with the Apple success stories we hear in the US and Europe.”
They removed the lite version, and made the other two versions available for free. In 2 days, the number of downloads shot up to 120,000 worldwide, prompting them to think there had been some sort of mistake. Another 2 days passed and the number increased by over 2 and a half times to 320,000 downloads, placing the game into the Top 10 list in all iTunes App Stores across the Middle East and in Russia, the Top 30 in France and in the Top 100 in the US.
Lebnan is modest about their success though, “I must admit, I didn’t see this coming. We really thought we would achieve 10-20 thousand downloads and that’s it.”
The team was determined to give the game a distinctly Arabic flavour. The iOS game, available in Arabic, English and French, is set in the Middle East, where the region is coming under attack from mutant chickens.
An elaborate back story of scientists in Dubai experimenting on birds gone awry leads to a crazy flock of chickens let loose on the city with the ultimate aim of world domination. And that is where you, the player, comes in. You’ll be taken from country to country, in a first person shoot ’em up format, shooting at crazy chickens.
The cartoon graphics and music give the game a light and fun feel, and it’s pretty addictive too, which may earn the game some comparisons to Angry Birds. However, it certainly isn’t an Arabized version of the popular Rovio game, but rather is more comparable to Nintendo’s Duck Hunt. But Birdy Nam Nam’s overnight success may easily earn it another comparison to Angry Birds, as one of the most successful iOS games, and certainly the most successful game to come out of the region so far.
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