Rovio: Finnish video game developer

Rovio is a global mobile game development company that creates, develops, and publishes mobile games. Rovio is best known for the Angry Birds brand, which started as a popular mobile game in 2009 and has since evolved from games to various entertainment and consumer products through the licensing of the brand. Rovio’s operations are divided into two business models: Games and Brand licensing.

Image credits here and beyond: Rovio

Founded in 2003 by Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen, and Kim Dikert, Rovio has been making a smash hit games and entertainment for over 16 years. Today Rovio has a portfolio of many mobile games and animation series and produced The Angry Birds Movie, which premiered in 2016. Its sequel, The Angry Birds Movie 2, released in 2019. 

The Rovio story

In 2003, three students from the Helsinki University of Technology, Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen, and Kim Dikert won the Assembly demo competition with a mobile game called King of the Cabbage World. After that, they start a game company called Relude. At that period Relude began to receive large orders for outsourcing development from the giants of the gaming industry. Need for Speed, SWAT, Burnout – all these games received their mobile adaptations from Relude.

The first angel investor steps in 2005, and Relude changes its name to Rovio, which means ‘bonfire’ in Finnish. They develop dozens of games for early mobile platforms. And 51 games later, near bankruptcy, Rovio develops its 52nd game, Angry Birds, in eight months. The company dedicated a budget of  $30K for the game. Finally, it becomes one of the biggest mobile games and entertainment brand success stories of all time. 

The Angry Birds mobile games have been downloaded over two billion times and counting, and are in the Guinness Book of World Records. Rovio reaches 4 billion downloads across all of its games. Into account, the games have been played in remote locations such as Antarctica and even on the International Space Station.

Beyond the games, Rovio licenses the Angry Birds brand and the related characters to product manufacturers and content producers. Over 1,8 billion Angry Birds consumer products have been sold since 2010. About 70 million units of various Angry Birds licensed products were sold in 2018, with the largest categories being clothing, food, toys, and craft supplies. 

Angry Birds animated content has been watched over 10 billion times in channels such as YouTube and Netflix, and the two Angry Birds movies form an almost $500 million box office movie franchise. Rovio’s brand licensing-related activities are part of the Rovio marketing team.

The company`s revenue amounted to EUR $348.5 million in 2019. Its strategy is to seek growth in the Games business by improving the performance of our key games and developing new games.To date, Rovio has four locations in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Canada, and each office with its own focus and mission.

For example, Espoo-based Battle Studio is dedicated to creating the most accessible 4X game on the market. Stockholm Studio is the studio behind Angry Birds 2, they are developing new titles in the RPG genre with a “lean RPG” approach. The studio in Copenhagen is developing accessible and casual action RPGs with a Nordic twist, specifically with their title, Darkfire Heroes, which is currently in soft launch in select regions. At the end of 2019, the Company totaled 466 employees, with the majority working within its Games unit.