Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment is preparing for another round of layoffs, announcing plans for up to 260 redundancies following the departure of 110 staff in late 2014.
The company’s chief executive Pekka Rantala said: “Rovio’s growth and eagerness to explore new business opportunities over the past few years have been exceptional. As a result, we did too many things.”
He added: “In our current financial condition we must now put focus on where we are at our best: in creating magnificent gaming experiences, in producing an amazing animation movie and in delighting our fans with great products.”
Jobs are at risk in Espoo, where the Finnish company has its headquarters, and at its offices in Shanghai, Stockholm, London and Tokyo but staff working on the Angry Birds Movie in the US and Canada are exempt.
If Rantala’s comments and the narrower corporate focus sound familiar, that’s because they mirror the announcement of Rovio’s previous round of redundancies by his predecessor, Mikael Hed.
“We have been building our team on assumptions of faster growth than have materialised,” he said in October 2014. “As a result, we announced today that we plan to simplify our organisation around our three key businesses with the highest growth potential: games, media, and consumer products.”
At the peak of its growth in 2013, Rovio added 300 new employees taking its headcount to 800. The October 2014 plans to lay off 130 staff were later reduced to 110, which suggests the new round of 260 redundancies amounts to nearly 38% of Rovio’s current workforce.
Rovio is still working on its Angry Birds movie, which is set for release in 2016. Rantala was optimistic about the performance of the company’s latest game Angry Birds 2, pointing to 50m downloads in its first month after release.
“Fundamental changes are needed to ensure Rovio succeeds in its global ambitions to be the leading entertainment company with mobile games at its heart,” he said. “This is personally a difficult decision. However, it is certain that a leaner and more agile Rovio is absolutely necessary to move forward and take the company to new successes in the future.”
Angry Birds 2 may have an impressive downloads total, but the game is still finding its feet commercially. In the key market of the US, for example, it is currently the 58th top-grossing app in Apple’s App Store. In the UK it is 44th, and in its native Finland it is 29th.
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 26th August 2015 11.27 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010