Rovio CEO: Gamers aren’t ‘walking wallets’

By Brenna Hillier, Friday, 24 February 2012 02:42 GMT

Angry Birds creator Rovio wants to treat its end users as human beings, not infinite cash cows.

“Talking about ‘users’ is totally wrong. As long as you keep talking about users, you forget they are really human beings,” Mikael Hed told AllThingsD.

“You are not making [games] for essentially a walking wallet,” he added, saying too many companies prioritise profits over what customers want.

Hed made several other interesting comments in the article, making a brief mention of the upcoming Angry Birds: Space as well as Rovio’s constant adaptation of the brand to keep it interesting. The company’s long-lasting success with what might have been a fly by night (get it? Ha ha!) one hit wonder has made it attractive to posible buyers.

“It is very regular to get contacted by somebody who wants to know if we are interested,” he said, although Rovio isn’t keen on selling, and Hed would not give details.

“I would say there are a number of companies that are very active in the acquisition space. Zynga is one of them. It’s clear that at one point or another we talk to everybody,” he said, adding that Rovio itself could do a bit of buying of its own.

“It would be very easy for us to just go shopping. To get lasting benefit is the hard part.”

In an extract published separately, Hed revealed that Rovio wasn’t always so comfortably positioned. At one point, his father was the company’s chief financial backer.

“He told me that he wanted to mortgage my grandparents’ flat so he could put some more money in the company to keep it afloat. That was pretty tough. I certainly did not want to be the person responsible for putting my grandparents on the street,” Hed said.

Although Hed was doubtful about the risks, despite his confidence in the soon-to-be-released Angry Birds, but his father went ahead with it anyway.

“Now I am glad he did, but it was a big gamble,” the executive said.

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