"Angry Birds" for Couch Potatoes

You loved them on your Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone. They were a hit on the Android platform and helped Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) launch its app store with a bang, a chirp, and the rattle of collapsing structures. You can even launch enraged fowls at porcine invaders in your browser now, thanks to a partnership between game designer Rovio and online titan Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) .

The next step for Angry Birds, the gaming sensation sweeping every kind of device possible, is into your living room, where you'll be able to vent your frustrations on the biggest screen in the house. And you don't even have to own a gaming console to do it.

Angry Birds is coming soon to a Roku box near you. If you're scratching your head over how to play this touchscreen-friendly game on a remote with about four buttons, go ahead and save your scalp -- the installed base of more than 1 million Roku players will probably not be compatible with Angry Birds.

Instead, the company is said to be launching a new box with some kind of game controller. The little box that launched with seed money from Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) and a singular mission to promote Netflix streaming hasn't changed much in three years, so I suppose it's time to take the next step.

Netflix itself has pretty much disowned Roku, as every set-top box under the sun now plays Netflix streams -- the early partner is no longer needed. So Roku has to pull its own weight now, and this step looks like a good start. "We believe that a lot of our fans will buy the Roku just to play Angry Birds," said Rovio marketing chief Peter Vesterbacka.

Rovio plans to go public in about three years, hoping to take a well-funded bite out of the casual-gaming market currently dominated by Zynga, PopCap Games, and Nintendo. Likewise, I'd fully expect Roku to file for an IPO eventually.

There's always room in the consumer-electronics market for another player with a laser focus on a narrow niche such as Web-based entertainment. Hey, Apple grew into its enormous boots on the back of a music player -- this stuff works.

Rovio and Roku both tap into the burgeoning cloud-computing boom, each in their own way. Watch a free video on how cloud computing is changing the way we work, play, and invest today.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google and Netflix but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Google, Nintendo, and Netflix, buying puts in Netflix, and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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