Angry Birds Shaves $1.5 Billion Off the U.S. Economy

Angry Birds Shaves $1.5 Billion Off the U.S. Economy


A wholly unscientific analysis concludes that Angry Birds costs the U.S. economy more than $1.5 billion per year in lost wages.

Every now and then a story pops up somewhere bemoaning the vast bazillions of dollars that some trivial activity is costing the economy in lost productivity. People screw in time on fantasy football leagues, getting drunk on St. Patrick's Day or sitting on the crapper the day after a big Taco Bell blowout and because of it, hundreds of millions of dollars that would have helped drive the economy to new heights are instead flushed down the drain. And since the Angry Birds phenomenon is one of the biggest time-sinks to come along in recent years, The Atlantic decided to figure out just how much damage it's really doing.

The analysis is based on a recent report that people around the world blow 200 million minutes on Angry Birds every day, an astonishing figure that adds up to 866,666,667 hours per year. Using the entirely arbitrary assumption that five percent of that time is screwed in by Americans at work, the site determined that 43.3 million hours that would otherwise have been spent productively in the workplace are being wasted on the game. Multiplying that by an average hourly wage of $35, it came up with a final, scientifically indisputable [or not] figure of $1,516,666,667 in wages lost to Angry Birds over the course of a single year.

The economic validity of this study is beyond question [or not] but speaking as a poor person, even I have to admit that pegging the average hourly wage at $35 seems awfully generous. Where did it come from? "I basically split Americans up into four categories: people earning $30,000, $50,000, $75,000, and $100,000, then I calculated simple hourly wages for those groups (income/52/40) and did a weighted average based on smartphone adoption in those categories," the author explained, noting that the figure is close to the $38 per hour figure used in a similar, presumably somewhat more serious study that found that fantasy football leagues cost U.S. companies $10.5 billion in lost wages.

A follow-up report examining the economic impact of people who play Angry Birds while sitting on the crapper the day after a big Taco Bell blowout is expected to be released soon.

Thanks to The_root_of_all_evil for the tip.


hmm, I am yet to decide weather this is good or not,
We shaved of 1.5 billion, but in doing so had to buy a a game the same as ones you can get free online...

Im really really doubting the average smartphone user makes $35 an hour. Other then that its kind of pointless and is based on far to many assumptions. As you said its a very unscientific analysis.

This seems to make two very dangerous assumptions:

1. That most Americans earn 35 dollars an hour. Dude, I'd KILL for 35 dollars an hour.

2. That time spent on entertainment is time wasted.

How much did wanking cost the U.S. Economy then? Must be in the trillions. Maybe i could make a lame poster about the "Great White Deficit" XD

$35 an hour?! Izzat really the national average? Holy hell. In my world, $35/hr means you're one rich muthafucka.

These statistics are bullshit, though. People do have downtime at work. The time spent playing Angry Birds is not necessarily time which would have embiggened the economy.

Obviously, if people weren't playing Angry Birds, they'd be working, and not doing some other activity (internet?)

Vic Reeves:
98.6% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Gotta love a study that shows exactly how accurate other studies are. :)

But... its so fucking boring!

HOW DARE the drones stop working - get back to work America!

I sense most people doing 8 hours solid per day without the natural moments of web browsing, watercooler chat or just simple extensions of bathroom and coffee breaks... would be going postal on a monthly basis.

Nice to see the media finding a way to blame basic human nature on video games again, however.

I also seem to remember that Scott Adams theorised that most office workers actually managed about an hour to 90 minutes of actual, productive work per day, pretty much everything else is pointless busywork, or just 'looking busy' while waiting for something useful to do.

I genuinely believe the world could be a happier place if we sorted things out and just left people the hell alone during 'downtime', this idea that you have to 'look busy' while at work when there's nothing to do is just a way to grind the soul out of the workers.

Really, if your job is answering phones, so long as you hit pause on Angry Birds, or look away from that webpage, what the hell? Worst case is you have happier staff answering the phones in call centers.

O I love this, much because it is how the companies "loosing" money counts.. they guess and assume A LOT like $35/h riiight...


Vic Reeves:
98.6% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Gotta love a study that shows exactly how accurate other studies are. :)

This quote is true because 1,4% of all people participating in that study lied ;-P

"Statistics can be made up for anything, even the truth" or
"Facts are stubborn things, statistic is more pliable"

$35 dollars an hour at 8 hours comes out to 280 dollars per day. That's 1400 dollars a week. That's 5600 dollars a month. That means the average American makes 67,200 a year before tax. Now go anywhere in the United States, stop someone in the street, and tell them that. Enjoy being laughed at.

Oh, I thought this was going to be about the Angry Birds dev team paying $1.5 billion for the deficit, but whatever.

haha what bs, guess what

Anything you could propose is wasteful and damaging the economy of America this is pretty much it.

hey isn't that the sum of your national debt? funny that...

Great Scotts Lassy! I don't believe I know anyone who makes 35 dollars an hour! or at least anyone in my immediate surrounding, I don't even make a 3rd of that...

I know far too many people with a smartphone who don't even have a job, so I'm finding this $35 an hour price point hard to believe.

$35 an hour seems really generous to me. Being a poor student and only working part time, albeit not in america but still, I'm way below that.
Also, does it really do that much damage playing it? I only play it when I'm waiting for the bus or train etc. or sitting on the crapper. In those times I wouldn't be doing anything useful anyway, so that game is a great time waster but I don't see how it does damage.
Oh and I've heard a few times about it but what is fantasy football?

I don't know of many smartphone user that makes 35 dollars an hour. I want to make 35 dollars an hour. Where are they working at?

LoL, the biggest joke is simply that people would have been doing something productive instead of playing Angry Birds, which is a complete lie. And, if they bought Angry Birds, they did do something to drive the economy.

Maybe this guy makes $35/hour to come up with bullshit like this.

Worst case is you have happier staff answering the phones in call centers.

That would require a call center to not actively hate their employees. At a company outsourced to AT&T we were instructed to read up on company policies during down time... It was really hard to stifle the laughter in training when the told us that.

Wow, am I the only one that found the study funny? I think you're all taking it too seriously.

If you read the same results in a more positive way you get "Angry Birds created 20,817 jobs"

My wife and I combined don't make $35 an hour. (Close though)

The guy used adoption rates for smart phones per class, likely as a percentage.

Fact is, until fairly recently only highly paid people up the food chain commonly had smart phones. Stats are probably not updated too quickly, so they will show a high rate of adoption (as a %) among higher level managers and executives. Thus, $35 an hour.

Hm, yes, because stress relief=wasted time.
Anyway, made up figures are made up, moving on?

Count on the finns to destroy US' economy. Hooray.

Count on the finns to destroy US' economy. Hooray.

Lol. Reminds me of the last days of the cold war...

Because several people suggested Tetris was created by the russians with the explicit purpose of destroying the capitalist west's economy. XD


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