Roku's line of boxes have come a long way from being used only to stream Netflix, and now the company has announced a plan to take its talents to casual gaming. Naturally, the first app out of the gate this summer will be the wildly popular and increasingly ubiquitous Angry Birds. There's not a lot of details available yet and while we're told the gaming experience will be available on a new player launching this summer, whether or not the existing Roku hardware will get any gaming action remains to be seen. Roku CEO Anthony Wood is very excited about the company's gaming prospects saying "Just as we were the first to enable Netflix to stream instantly to the TV, we intend to be the catalyst for transforming the way people play casual games-starting with Angry Birds-on the biggest screen in the home". While we wouldn't bet against the upstart media streamer maker, it may be a bit tougher to compete with Xbox 360, PS3 and whatever Nintendo has up its sleeve on their native turf.

Update: Thanks to Dan Rayburn, Anthony Wood has confirmed Angry Birds will not run on existing players. In the inaugural post on the Roku Blog, he mentioned "some of the new games will require more horsepower".


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Roku Partners with Rovio to Bring First Angry Birds Experience to TV;
Expands Internet TV Platform to Include Casual Games

Saratoga, Calif. and Espoo, Finland – June 1, 2011 – Roku, Inc., the leading Internet TV platform, and Rovio, creator of the leading casual game Angry Birds, today announced that the companies have entered into a strategic partnership to bring the first Angry Birds experience to the TV. Roku will offer Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio video games; launch an Angry Birds video channel featuring Angry Birds animated shorts; and sell Angry Birds merchandise-all via the Roku Channel Store.

The announcement today also marks Roku's expansion of its successful Internet TV platform to include casual games. Although Rovio is the first partner that will bring popular casual games to Roku, the company is in talks with other casual game providers and aggregators, and will make additional announcements including availability details within the next few weeks. In addition, Roku continues to be an open platform allowing content owners of all sizes to have a channel that streams to the TV.

"Angry Birds is the most popular and fastest growing casual game yet is has been trapped on mobile devices. We believe there's a huge market for games like these on the TV," said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood. "Just as we were the first to enable Netflix to stream instantly to the TV, we intend to be the catalyst for transforming the way people play casual games-starting with Angry Birds-on the biggest screen in the home."

"We are growing Angry Birds into a lasting global entertainment franchise and Roku's strong platform enables us to introduce the full Angry Birds experience of games, videos and merchandise to the TV," said Rovio Chief Marketing Officer Peter Vesterbacka. "It was an easy decision to partner with Roku. They are a small company like us, are easy to work with, and of course make the best-selling streaming player. We expect Roku and Angry Birds fans to be thrilled with the TV experience that we are bringing them."

With its launch in May 2008 as the original Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) streaming player, Roku became the first Internet TV platform to take hold with mainstream American consumers. In 2009, Roku added the Roku Channel Store, the first true app store and open development environment for long- and short-form streaming entertainment to the TV. Since then, Roku is the partner of choice for content owners who want to reach TV viewers directly. The simplicity of the Roku platform sets it apart-allowing developers to quickly deploy content with a variety of monetization options.

With more than 250 entertainment channels, Roku players deliver the best collection of streaming entertainment available for the TV. Roku customers can choose from an enormous selection of movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video (NASDAQ: AMZN), Crackle and Revision3; live and on-demand sports from NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter Live and Ultimate Fighting Championship; music from Pandora, MOG, Rdio, and TuneIn Radio; photo and video sharing from Flickr and Facebook; plus news and entertainment from around the world-and soon, popular casual games like Angry Birds.

Angry Birds was released by Rovio in late 2009, and became a worldwide phenomenon within one year. Rovio has since released a number of Angry Birds games for all major smartphone platforms, as well as PC and Mac. Today, the Angry Birds games have been downloaded more than 200 million times across all platforms. With this global success, Angry Birds has expanded into a franchise that now includes broadcast media, merchandising, publishing and services. Rovio has sold more than three million units of Angry Birds merchandise to consumers in more than 100 countries.

About Rovio
Rovio is an entertainment media company based in Finland, and the creator of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise. Rovio was founded in 2003 as a mobile game development studio, and the company has developed several award-winning titles for various mobile platforms. For more information about Rovio go to www.rovio.com.

About Roku
Roku is the leading Internet TV platform. Founded by Anthony Wood, inventor of the DVR, Roku was created to reinvent the way consumers experience TV by making entertainment available instantly. The award-winning Roku streaming players are renowned for their simplicity, exceptional value and breadth of content. Roku is privately held and located in Saratoga, Calif. For more information, visit www.roku.com.
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