Rovio hacks 260 jobs, India and China to be unaffected; banking heavily on ‘Angry Birds’ movie to revitalise the franchise

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The bird flinging maker – Rovio – replaced the birds with 260 of its own employees, 230 from the Finland headquarters, in an effort to save the furious aves, which have been ‘disappearing’ from the playstores and app stores top downloaded lists.

TheGraphicSlate.com has learnt from Rovio’s spokesperson that the cuts are not going to affect the expansion and focused activities that the Finnish company has chalked out for the Asian, more specifically the markets of India and China.

The biggest cause of concern for the Angry Birds maker has been the tremendous drop of over 100 million active users of their mobile games not returning to fling their birds to destroy the bad piggies.

We also learn that all the layers within the near 700 strong workforce will be touched in this restructuring exercise. “We are however strongly focusing in our three core businesses, namely games, media; including our superb animation movie and towards consumer products,” revealed the official spokesperson.

“In our current financial condition, we must now put focus on where we are at our best,” said Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala in a statement. The company’s focus is now making more games like Angry Birds 2 and its new movie which is to be out next year 20 May.

The job losses will be company-wide except for those who are working in the US and Canada on The Angry Birds Movie. So most of the country heads are currently at the HQ in Finland discussing how things will function going forward.

To put things in perspective, 2014 has being a difficult year for the company since it saw a 73 per cent drop in profit despite a 16 per cent increase in the revenue from its game development business. Most of the drop in its profit came due to slack in merchandising and licensing business worldwide. This year too, despite releasing a successful game Angry Birds 2, which saw 50 million downloads in over a month; the grossing chart has not changed with likes of Clash of Clan, Candy Crush and Game of War still among the top games.

Last year in October, Rovio saw a similar reorganisation and refocusing with 110 employees losing their jobs. The layoffs amounted for 16 per cent of its workforce then. The current round of job cuts would be as much as 40 per cent of Rovio’s current workforce.

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Apart from Angry Birds 2 this year, Rovio has a movie release which is scheduled to premiere in May 2016 also being co-produced by Sony Pictures, which is expected to help the studio rebound in its licensing division. Sony too will be more cautious this time around since the last release Pixels based on video games did not fare well at the box-office.

Rovio has been releasing far too many games based on its hit franchise and since 2014, Rovio has launched six Angry Birds games, including Angry Birds Fight!, a match-3 game, Angry Birds Stella Pop!, a tile-matching game, and Angry Birds Transformers, a side-scrolling shooter based on the toy franchise.

Rovio is banking big on its Angry Birds feature film to reverse the fading brand’s fortunes. The company is spending $110 million of its own money to produce the film in Canada, which is also the most expensive film in Finnish history. “Some people might think we are crazy, but we are very excited,” Rantala said about the film in a recent press meet. “We are very confident that this is the right move because when we decided to make it we decided to make it right.”

We have also exclusively learnt that Rovio isn’t panning to specifically target the India-only price point anytime soon and the rumoured cricket based Angry Birds game is still on!

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