Angry Birds not selling so jobs going

HELSINKI, FINLAND: Rovio, the Finnish manufacturer of the popular mobile game “Angry Birds” announced has it is cutting at least 130 jobs, because sales have fallen sharply.
Rovio’s Mikael Hed says that falling sales have forced the company to cut jobs and look for new sources of revenue. Image:
Rovio’s Mikael Hed says that falling sales have forced the company to cut jobs and look for new sources of revenue. Image: European CEO
The mobile phone game franchise is believed to have lost in the region of 60m players since late 2012, having been unable to match the phenomenal success of its early “Angry Birds” games. The franchise still remains a world leader, though, with more than 200m monthly active players.

“We are an entrepreneurial company and have been exploring multiple avenues for the business. We have built a team based on assumptions of faster growth than has materialised,” Rovio Chief Executive Mikael Hed said.

He added that the company would now focus on games, media, and consumer products with the highest growth potential, without specifying which activities it would drop.

“Unfortunately, we also need to consider possible employee reductions of up to 16% of the workforce,” he said.

Following a period of rapid growth Rovio’s profits dropped by 50% in 2013 as it increased investment to face growing competition.

Game sales sinking

The company’s staff component grew by 300 people last year to a total of 800.

Analyst Tero Kuittinen says that Rovio is becoming a firm driven by franchising rather than as games developer. Image:
Analyst Tero Kuittinen says that Rovio is becoming a firm driven by franchising rather than as games developer. Image: ID Winphone
“Rovio is about to become more and more a firm driven by franchising products, because the games sales are shrinking,” Technology Analyst Tero Kuittinen, at Frank N. Magid Associates, told AFP.

“Their new entries which tried out different iterations of ‘Angry Birds’ – ‘Etik’ and ‘Angry Birds Stella’ have flopped.”

The company has expanded beyond video games with a vast array of merchandise, amusement parks in Europe and China, children’s books and a feature film in the pipeline.

The “Angry Birds” series of games uses slingshots to launch little birds at fortresses built by green pigs.

It quickly became the most successful mobile game in history following its 2009 launch for smartphones and tablets, spawning an entire franchise of merchandise and media tie-ins.

Sales of Angry Bird spin-offs accounted for 47% of Rovio’s total revenue in 2013. But more recently, competing games such as “Candy Crush” have overtaken “Angry Birds” in popularity.

“Rovio insists that the game downloads and merchandising product sales are two separate things, but the people who decide what is sold on the store shelves do not focus on download figures,” he said.