March 30-2015
Rovio’s journey and slingshot to fame

It takes only one game for a company to achieve success that soars to such heights that scaling them would have otherwise been a difficult task or maybe even impossible. In 2003, a trio from Helsinki University of Technology, Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen and Kim Dikert had developed a real time multiplayer mobile game at a competition and set up their own game company called Relude. The company was renamed to Rovio Mobile in 2005 and Rovio Entertainment in 2011 and the name is as famous as Disney or Lego.

But with success stories is the struggle that is not so visible. Until 2009, the company had 51 games that were unknown. The company’s 52nd game Angry Birds plumetted to number one spot on the App Store on arrival and stayed there for months. The game when launched, broke records with 50 million downloads in just 35 days of its release and has done a combined number of 2.5 billion download numbers in just five years for its 12 associate Angry Birds games. Over 600 billion birds have been flung which is almost 75 times the world population and players earning close to 150 billion stars which surpasses the number of stars in our galaxy achieving a play time which is equivalent to 1 million years. Today, the franchise has branched out to different Angry Birds games such as Seasons, Rio, Friends, Star Wars, Go! and Epic to name a few.

The company does not only dabble in mobile games now but has ventured into different areas of entertainment with the Angry Birds franchise. Releasing next year is the Angry Birds movie with a voice cast consisting names like Jason Sudeikis (Red), Peter Dinklage (Mighty Eagle), Josh Gad (Bomb), Maya Rudolph (Maltida) and Bill Hader (will head the pork side). Backed by Sony Pictures, this one will be something every Angry Birds fan would be eagerly waiting for.

Other than movies, the company runs theme parks, kids parks, animation with ToonsTV and books for kids.

One could say that the company’s focus is on the Angry Birds franchise but it has not forgotten to mesmerise the audience with different games coming out of its other divisions like Rovio LVL 11 and Rovio Stars. LVL 11 had Rovio experimenting with non Angry Birds games and released Retry and Selfie Slam. With Rovio Stars, the company entered the publishing space, publishing third party games for game development studios. Games like Tiny Thief, Plunder Pirates and Jolly Jam have come out of the Rovio Stars stable.

The company is now experimenting with game mechanics inside Angry Birds’ titles other than bird flinging. The new games Angry Birds Stella POP ventures into match three category which already has Candy Crush leading the market world over. Also, a new update pack is soon going to be out for Seasons with Ham Dunk: All Star. The company has seen a recent decline of 73 per cent profit in the sales figure. Revenue from mobile games grew 16 per cent to 110.7 million on the back of new offerings, but the overall sales fell 9 per cent last year to 158.3 million Euros ($169 million) from 173.5 million Euros.

However, despite its best efforts at expanding the brand, Rovio has lost the initial charm that it once held strongly.