Rovio: Less than half our staff are working on games

Executive vice president of games on Angry Birds and new IP

Rovio's executive vice president of games has revealed that fewer than half the studio's 800 members of staff are working on games these days, following the Angry Birds brand's transition from game to entertainment brand.

I think less than half are working on games now," Jami Laes told GamesBeat.

"But games will always be at the core of Rovio. That's our heritage. The majority of the folks who have come from different industries to work on different areas of our business, they all experienced the game as their first encounter with the brand. When it comes to future franchises, they'll most likely see the light of day from the games department, rather than another area of our business."

"Angry Birds is the most important thing for us, but it can't be the only thing for us"

Laes also reiterated that the company has now seen over two billion downloads for its portfolio and spoke about the future of Rovio, promising more furious fowl themed products over the next couple of years, but also a focus on innovation.

"We haven't broken out anything big because we've been building a lot of things in 2013, and in the previous years. We're building the organisation, building new capabilities, new processes, so that we can have a bigger emphasis on fulfilling that dream of becoming an entertainment powerhouse," he said.

"The bedrock of the company is our focus on building new stuff. In the next couple of years you'll see new things come out of Rovio. We want to have a balanced diet - birds, pigs, and more. The way we see it, there is no brand, and yet there's nothing but the brand, in a Zen type of way. Angry Birds is the most important thing for us, but it can't be the only thing for us."

Rovio recently appointed Crytek's Katharina Hautz as senior producer at its Stockholm studio.

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Latest comments (8)

Aleksi Ranta Category Management Project Manager 6 years ago
I always get a slight rash when i read news about rovio. Its always less and less about their games and more about how they are pushing into new franchises or some other nonsense. What happened to focusing on entertainment people love?

I cant walk 5meters here in Finland without seeing something thats AB branded. Makeup for young teen girls? Check. Espresso at the train station? Check. Family oriented spa holidays? Check. Soda? Check. and so on. Dont get me wrong, im all for making money but there is a limit, even consumers have one.
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development6 years ago
Does this imply almost half of their guys are developers?

One programmer, couple of artists, couple of level designers. Angry Birds might be a big franchise now, but lets not kid ourselves it's a big and complicated game. The hard part is doubtless provided by box2d, not that 2D physics is that hard anyway.

Am not a Rovio or AB hater, but come on guys - you lot stopped being about game development years ago.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 15th January 2014 5:40pm

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Samuel Verner Game Designer 6 years ago
@paul "angry bird go"?
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Show all comments (8)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
Hmmm... there's still that CG movie coming out, right? Next year? I think AB fatigue may set in by then, but we'll see...
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop6 years ago
AB Go was made by Exient, not Rovio (check the credits).
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Edmund Gill Creative Director, SkillKash Limited6 years ago
I've seen plenty of AB stuff in the bargain bins. It won't last, and 'alter it, change the name' won't work for long either.
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Eyal Teler Programmer 6 years ago
"What happened to focusing on entertainment people love?"

@Aleksi Ranta, that's exactly what they're doing, focusing on TV and movies.
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Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst 6 years ago
I have to agree with Eyal (regarding focusing on entertainment). Movies and TV have been upping their game, whereas the gaming world has just been sinking into mediocrity.

X-Com is probably the most successful game that stood out from the pack in the last year (in terms of triple A titles). So what happened? Someone immediately thought "let's make a horrible 3rd person shooter out of it".

The best selling titles the gaming world has at the moment are limp FPS sequels. Right now, gaming is about as interesting as late 80's buddy cop movies. Except without the creative flair and entertainment value. The indie world shows some promise, but with the drawback that you have to go back to 1998-2003 in terms of graphics and production.
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