Rovio, creators of the Angry Birds game and all it’s many offshoots have announced in a statement made on Wednesday that they are to cut 260 jobs, over a third of their total workforce.
Pekka Rantala, the company’s CEO 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. We will work with and support all our employees through this period of change.”
Angry Birds was probably one of the first “Superstar Apps”, something created originally for mobile rather than being a version of something that had been done on the PC. It used the touchscreen interface well and had that perfectly pitched “easy to learn, but hard to master” gameplay that kept you going back for one more play. Unsurprising then that they sold 12 million copies on the Apple App Store before they even released it on Android and as of July this year they had over 3 billion downloads over all platforms.
So what’s gone wrong? Maybe it’s the fact that the gameplay is too simple, too repetitive. As with all games of this type (and there are sooooo many now) the game has to balance difficulty with addictiveness and add novelty to freshen things up every once in a while. Unfortunately, doing the same old thing in a variety of locations, effectively just theming the levels, is not holding the public’s interest anymore.
Or Maybe Rovio themselves are to blame. After all they have milked the Angry Birds franchise for all it’s worth, with 14 games following the originals success, including movie franchise tie-ins with Star Wars and Transformers. They also licenced plushes, board games, soft drinks and the usual cornucopia of crap so it’s no wonder that we might be sick of the sight of them.
You have to wonder where all the money has gone though, Maybe the layoffs will allow Rovio to weather this downturn in their once stellar popularity till the Angry Birds Movie (yes, I’m afraid so) comes out in 2016.