HELSINKI, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Finnish mobile games and animation firm Rovio Entertainment said on Monday it was stepping up its hunt for brand new hit games by opening a studio in London to focus on new multiplayer games that would not rely on the particular firm’s Angry Birds brand.
Privately-held Rovio has struggled in recent years because profits from MLB The Show 17 Retro Angry Birds franchise dropped, prompting deep job slashes and divestments.
But last year Rovio launched an animated Angry Birds 3D Hollywood film that it stated did well at the box workplace and yielded new licensing offers.
“Our business is profitably increasing, and the time has come for us to develop in numbers too, ” stated Antti Viitanen, head of Rovio’s game studios.
The company said it had been looking to build a team of about twenty people in London to focus on “massively multiplayer” online games – like Supercell’s Conflict of Clans – with new intellectual property.
Rovio currently has around 200 employees at the four game studios in Finland and Sweden, and about 400 individuals in total.
The original Angry Birds online game, in which players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the particular birds’ eggs, remains the top compensated mobile app of all time, and Rovio exploited the brand early on simply by licensing its use on a string of consumer products.
But with no new hit games, revenue dropped and Rovio slashed greater than 300 jobs in 2014 plus 2015.
In the first half 2016, Rovio booked a small operating profit, compared with a loss per year earlier. (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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