Financial Woes Plague Rovio, Angry Birds Development Company

Maybe if they offered Angry Birds-themed cocktail table arcade games for sale, Rovio would come up with enough cash to keep their staff. As sad as it may be to report layoffs in a once-blossoming company, Rovio has elected to lay off over one third of its entire workforce. Currently, approximately 640 people work at Rovio, but over the next six weeks the company expects to eliminate 260 positions. While overall the profits are rising with the release of Angry Birds 2, it is not enough to save Rovio from overstepping their business boundaries over the past six years.

Finland’s Entertainment Brand

Rovio was founded in 2003 in Espoo, Finland and originally branded itself as a mobile gaming development company. After the smash hit Angry Birds was released in 2009, they began to delve into multiple sources of revenue, including merchandise such as clothing, food and more. At this point, Rovio began presenting their company as a broader entertainment provider instead of merely a mobile game developer, but the success was not meant to last.

As with all “hits,” and especially in today’s digital age of distraction, mobile gamers began to lose interest in Angry Birds with the rise of competition such as Clash of Clans and Candy Crush. From 2013 to 2014, revenue dropped 73 percent to a mere $11.5 million.

Can Rovio Be Saved?

Much of the company’s future depends on the success of its movie, set to be released in the U.S. in May. Will the film entice enough interest to draw consumers back into the franchise?

Angry Birds 2 is a free-to-play game that was downloaded almost 50 million times in a one-month span, but the revenue so far has not been adequate to correct the company’s financial tailspin. The layoffs come at a difficult time for workers in Finland’s struggling economy. While the Rovio offices in the U.S. and Canada focused on movie production likely won’t take a hit, the company’s founding location is bound to feel the pain of the job cuts. Only time and a movie premiere will tell if Rovio can bounce back to its previous high-earning glory.