Angry Birds developer Rovio has around 800 staff, but less than half of them are working on games. That’s the claim of executive vice president of games Jami Laes, who has commented on the company’s expansion into entertainment.
Speaking with GamesBeat, Laes stated, “I think less than half [of staff] are working on games now. 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.”
Laes commented on the way Rovio has capitalised on the Angry Birds brand, following its runaway success, rather than pumping out more new IP. “That’s one of the reasons why Rovio decided, a couple of years ago, to break out of just building the next mobile game, and the one after that,” he explained. “The 52nd game or the 53rd game. Our focus on that one brand resonated so well — taking that to different places and different platforms and different forms of entertainment and different products completely, rather than purely focusing on being a games developer.”
The company has moved into merchandising and on the Angry Birds feature film, to name just a few non0game facets of the brand. Laes said of this widespread strategy, “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.
“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.”
Do you feel Angry Birds has been milked too much, or is this a smart strategy in the busy mobile space? Let us know what you think below.