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Rovio: We're not a games company

Thu 11 Aug 2011 9:37am GMT / 5:37am EDT / 2:37am PDT
Publishing

Angry Birds publisher moving into books as well as films and toys

Peter Vesterbacka, head of Rovio Mobile Ltd, told the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference that Rovio isn't a games company.

"What we are building is a next-generation entertainment franchise," he told attendees.

"I think we're the fastest growing consumer franchise ever. We're working on new Angry Birds experiences and we'll expose a bit more of the Angry Birds story."

Vesterbacka, whose title at the company is "Mighty Eagle" also revealed the company's plans for a book series.

"It's the Angry Birds cookbook. We'll have three different books coming out this year and we're self-publishing because we can."

"If you are strong brand, if you have a strong following of fans you can do anything."

The company also sells Angry Birds toys, and is in the process of producing a full length animated film based on the game.

Rovio's Angry Birds title has been downloaded 300 million times, and has around 120 million active users on mobile platforms, and is also available on PlayStation 3 and through the Chrome browser.

The Finnish company recently valued itself "north of Popcap."

It's currently involved in a lawsuit with Lodsys LLC.

31 Comments

Peter Innes Studying Computer Games Programming, University of Derby

1 0 0.0
Is it just me, or does he always seem very sure of himself, to put it politely?

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
The Finnish company recently valued itself "north of Popcap."

I still find that amusing.

I think it's great for Rovio if they're making Angry Birds into a cross-media brand and it's bringing in a lot of money for them, but I also think it would be wise to develop other brands and not put all of their eggs in one basket. I mean, they're unlikely to have another hit as big as Angry Birds, but if they really consider themselves in the same league as PopCap then maybe they should follow PopCap's example and create some other strong brands aside from their breakout hit (in their case I guess it would be Bejeweled?).

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Fazi Zsolt Game Designer, Revo Solutions

18 8 0.4
They are not a games company anymore. I agree with that.
They stopped being one after they stopped working on new IPs.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Antony Cain Lecturer, Wakefield College

263 21 0.1
By that definition Fazi, I think a lot of the bigger games companies aren't actually games companies :)

Posted:3 years ago

#4

James Prendergast Research Chemist

741 439 0.6
@Antony:

They're all jockeys then? :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Prendergast on 11th August 2011 11:48am

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
Angry Birds seems on the brink of brand fatigue and Rovio wants to keep right on expanding the brand?

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend

292 704 2.4
52 games before their lucky hit and now they think they are better than PopCap.... LMAO

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc

36 0 0.0
and the horse screams in pain

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Guy Costantini Managing Partner

12 0 0.0
Great publicity stunt or overconfidence, only time will tell :)

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Avery Tingle Writer

4 0 0.0
Great publicity, overconfidence....one-hit wonder? I wanna see what they're doing in five years. Hell, two years.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

gi biz ;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
Hmm... so why don't they change the company name to AngryBirdMakers? I only hope they won't flood libraries with dumb books like those from the FF XI world, anyways.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Joe Bognar PR Account Executive / Journalist

99 2 0.0
I think it's a joke... You're not a games company anymore? Ok. Sorry, our mistake. Say goodbye to success too... :)

Posted:3 years ago

#12
While I think he's clearly joking... I can't shake the feeling Rovio have bought into their own hype.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Marc Oberhäuser Senior Game Developer

3 0 0.0
I'm waiting for the "Angry Birds" theme park: "We are better than Disney..."

Posted:3 years ago

#14

John Ozimek Director, Chomp Ltd

6 0 0.0
@ Darren Adams - you are spot on.

I can only assume that Vesterbacka is playing to the investor crowd that are slavering to throw money at new digital businesses. I've said it before - one breakaway hit does not a Disney or EA make.

All credit to the way they have recognised the opportunity and have very skilfully kept the sales high, and expanded the brand into different media. But really, how different is this to Crazy Frog? That spawned console games, music CDs, toys - and then died as quickly as it emerged.

Of course, the fact that there are so many comments means that Vesterbacka has achieved what he set out to do - keep Rovio in the spotlight...

Posted:3 years ago

#15

David Bachowski VP Business Development, Babaroga

66 0 0.0
I'm not going to knock on rovio because they are obviously making a lot of money with their brand. I don't think I would go see an angry birds movie though... I also don't know where they will go from there. Angry birds political party? :)

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Ondrej David

5 0 0.0
I'm sorry to be to so unobjective and negative, but I hate the image of this company since day one of the whole Angry Birds madness.

Now, not only that they have accomplished to make a very mediocre, boring and unimaginative game (that for some reason hit HUGE), they also made absolute dimwits out of themselves, by stating something like this.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Rodeo Games

76 56 0.7
So much negativity here...
While I also find the valuation slightly ridiculous I'm not sure I agree with the general sentiment expressed in the comments.

Regardless of your feelings towards Rovio or Angry Birds originality it *is* a good game. Also I can completely see why they no longer consider themselves a games company, why would they? There is still so much more they could do with Angry Birds. Cartoon series, book series & merchandise can continue to bring in the revenue for years. Why not? The characters are cute and the kids would love it, as would a few adults. Why is it not possible for Angry Birds to grow to be just as popular as the Mr. Men?

So few game companies are willing to expand their IP into a global multimedia brand. Moshi Monsters is another intelligent use of brand that comes to mind.

Posted:3 years ago

#18

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
"So much negativity here..."

/Bows.

We're gamers. It's what we do.

Posted:3 years ago

#19
To Wit: The burly bird gets the worm

Posted:3 years ago

#20

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
Tamir, I don't think any of us are doling on the lack of creativity or lack of quality in the game but Brand Exhaustion and the fact Rovio have nothing to fall back on. They are banking on Angry Birds to take them to PopCap levels without the staple of IP's of PopCap. That's asking for disaster.

Posted:3 years ago

#21
Exactly and PopCap have multiple IPs

Posted:3 years ago

#22

Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Rodeo Games

76 56 0.7
Popcap make excellent games. They are, without doubt, the better games company. But I do wonder how much Popcap have done to push revenue outside of games. They have merchandise but I have no figures as to how well that is doing. Somehow I doubt it is as successful as Rovio merchandise, though I could be wrong. Certainly Rovio have pushed further and been more adventurous. In this sense Rovio have already surpassed Popcap. That carries massive risk. Rovio could go bust in two years. In which case the IP has run it's course and they all leave having enjoyed the ride, with all the personal money they have made left over.

But Mr. Men is "just" Mr. Men. One IP. One brand.

Posted:3 years ago

#23

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,287 2,507 1.1
Revenue outside of their games is irrelevant. If that is what investors are looking for in an investment, diversify your own portfolio instead of speculating on the profits of a company diversifying itself beyond the market that made them a good investment in the first place.

As for how well the company could be if they do collapse, hard to say since they are still on the hook a great deal to creditors. They've had the opportunity to use their own money for expansion but have instead gone to creditors and investors for the funding. That may not bode too well for them in things go south in a year two. And expanding into movies, TV shows, merchandising...more investors and creditors.

Not sure what I'd avoid more right now, investing in Rovio or buying long term US T-bonds.

Posted:3 years ago

#24

Morgan Owen Studying Electronic engineering, University of Nottingham

12 0 0.0
Aww no:( I guess blizzard isn't a games company any more then :( I was looking forward to diablo aswell!

Posted:3 years ago

#25

Adam Parker Academic Coordinator, Qantm College

15 0 0.0
Derrrrr Dun...
Derrrrr Dun...
Dun dun, dun dun, dun dun, dun dun
Dudaleeeeeeeeeeee!

(Somewhere, right now, the Fonz is prepping his skis...)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Parker on 14th August 2011 7:06am

Posted:3 years ago

#26

Corey Williams Podcaster/blogger

8 0 0.0
I don't know, I like his confidence in their product (Angry Birds). I mean, it may turn out to be that they over saturate several markets with Angry Birds content, but they've made a boat load of money and are having fun with it. There's no reason to rush or start another game when your current product is hot, and their current product is smoldering. They're young enough a company, and versatile enough to do whatever they want right now.

Posted:3 years ago

#27

Geoffrey Suttor Creative Producer/Lead/Animator

3 0 0.0
My 8 year old loves the iOS game, the board game, the fluffy toys that oink and squark and watched the animations on youtube many times looking for more. They def hit a chord with the brand and an animated series would do well.

Posted:3 years ago

#28

Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc

36 0 0.0
the game is good, but the download bot that makes it look like they have 200 million users is the real prize

Posted:3 years ago

#29

Matthew Green Producer, Solar Studios Inc

36 0 0.0
they are gonna team up with the unlimited detail guy to market their download bot as "unlimited customers" we count every atom as a unique customer!

Posted:3 years ago

#30

Adam Hay Design Engineer, Imagination Technologies

9 0 0.0
my favourite quote of the whole thing has to be related to the film rights. "People are interacting with these characters six inches from them each time they play, and that creates an emotional connection"

Emotional connection?!?!? you use them like feathered housebricks!

It's not a bad game, but it's starting to get a bit old now - these plans will take at least a year to come to fruition and I get the feeling the general public response will be 'Angry *what*? oh yeah... that...' as they carry on playing whatever the casual 99p app of choice will be on that day.

I'm amazed they've kept it alive this long and I'd hope they've got another game waiting in the wings with whatever they've learned from the success of Angry Birds.

Posted:3 years ago

#31

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