Fans of Angry Birds can get an early look at the newest edition of the mobile-game series, though this offer can't be found on their smartphones.
Bookstore retailer Barnes & Noble said Wednesday it teamed up with the game's developer, Rovio, to offer a preview of Angry Birds Stella starting this Friday, even though the game doesn't launch until next week. The catch is that players can only find the game at their local Barnes & Noble and play on the in-store demo versions of the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablet.
The offer is a clever tactic to draw customers into Barnes & Noble's physical locations, which have lost traffic amid competition with e-retailer Amazon, while also highlighting the company's newest tablet, which launched last week.
Still, after Rovio already came out with a handful of Angry Birds apps -- its website lists 10 Angry Birds-themed games already available -- it's not clear how hotly anticipated the next iteration of the series will be. Among that growing list are Angry Birds Go!, Angry Birds Star Wars II, and the spin-off Bad Piggies, to name a few. Also, the marketing push for Nook comes at an awkward time for Barnes & Noble, which plans to separate from the money-losing Nook Media segment by 2015 so it can focus more on its core bookstore business. For now, the company plans to stick with its Nook sales strategy.
Angry Birds Stella has a female lead character and is being billed as the start of a new entertainment brand from Rovio. The game launches next Thursday, but will be available at Barnes & Noble from this Friday to next Wednesday.