Rovio has big ambitions
Video game developer Rovio has had a fantastic three years. Since its launch in December 2009 its Angry Birds series of games has set industry records with its smartphone app alone being downloaded 700 million times across all platforms and its latest instalment Angry Birds Space, being downloaded 10 million times in just three days. Rovio has also licensed its Angry Birds characters to be used as a Mattel board game, in advertisements for numerous companies such as Wal-Mart, T-Mobile, Nokia and Finnair but all of this pales in comparison to its future plans
Following its acquisition of Kombo Animation Studio last year, Rovio has recently acquired Futuremark Games Studio, in a move that looks like it plans to take on the likes of EA Games, Nintendo and Activision. Rovio is also trying to get better deals from the mobile companies and to that end released Angry Birds Space without a windows app in what is seen as a snub to its Finnish neighbour Nokia and to Microsoft Corp. Peter Vesterbacka, Rovios chief marketing officer dismissed the incident by saying “we’re the No. 1 app in the Windows Phone app store, but it’s a big undertaking to support it, and you have to completely rewrite the application” but with Microsoft set to launch its Windows 8 operating system later this year, I predict they will agree to some arrangement with Rovio.
In addition Rovio has announced it plans to expand beyond video games to become an entertainment company. It has recently acquired a Finnish animation studio to make a series of Angry Birds cartoons for Nickelodeon and to release a movie in 2014. It is also working with activity park manufacturer Lappset Group on an Angry Birds theme park set to open in Finland this summer with plans for the concept to be rolled out across adventure playgrounds, shopping centres and other recreational spaces in Britain, US and China.
The Angry Birds series is the Super Mario Brothers of this generation but if Rovio wants to realise its big ambitions and become a major game developer and entertainment company it will need more properties than just Angry Birds.