The company behind the hit mobile game Angry Birds has closed its London studio, after warning its profits were likely to fall. Rovio’s head of games, Wilhelm Taht, also resigned on Friday, leaving chief executive Kati Levoranta in charge.
The Finnish games company has warned that its brand licensing revenues could decline 40% this year. It has blamed tough competition and higher marketing costs for the poor outlook.
It’s with a heavy heart that I tell you the @rovio London Studio is going to close. Sad times for us, but I look back with genuine pride at my time with these talented and kind people. Been quite a ride. pic.twitter.com/EYxO3ZZmaA
— Mark Sorrell (@Sorrell) March 2, 2018
Rovio’s London studio was opened in 2017 and the company went public in September with a valuation of £786m. But on 22 February, the Finnish games maker issued a profit warning that caused its shares to drop by 50%.
Announcing the closure of its London studio, Rovio said it wanted to concentrate on its studios in Finland and Sweden. The company had employed seven games developers in London.
Rovio saw rapid growth after it launched Angry Birds in 2009, but it made a significant loss in 2015 and cut a third of its staff.
In 2016, its Angry Birds movie earned $350 million (£254m) in cinemas and helped revive sales of the game. A sequel is expected in 2019.
THE ANGRY BIRDS
Angry Birds is a video game franchise created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment. The series focuses on multi-colored birds who try to save their eggs from green-colored pigs, their enemies. Inspired by Crush the Castle, the game has been praised for its successful combination of fun gameplay, comical style, and low price.
Its popularity led to many spin-offs, versions of Angry Birds being created for PCs and video game consoles, a market for merchandise featuring its characters, a televised cartoon series, and a feature film.
In January 2014 there had been over two billion downloads across all platforms, including both regular and special editions as of July 2015, the series’ games have been downloaded more than three billion times collectively, making it the most downloaded freemium game series of all time.
The original Angry Birds has been called “one of the most mainstream games out right now”, “one of the great runaway hits of 2010”, and “the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far”. An animated feature film based on the series was released by Columbia Pictures on 20 May 2016, and the first main-series sequel, Angry Birds 2, was released on 30 July 2015.