I read a great interview on CNN.com with Rovio’s VP Bus Dev, Ville Heijari. Rather than repeat the interview, I strongly recommend you read it yourself.
My big takeaways from it were:
- Rovio started in 2003 and did not have a success until Angry Birds (2009). Before Angry Birds launched, they had to cut their staff from 55-60 to 12. If Angry Birds was not successful, they would have had to decide whether or not to continue operating.
- Until Angry Birds, Rovio normally spent 3-4 months on a mobile title. Angry Birds took about eight months because of additional iterations and polishing (including adding the catapult).
- What the above two points combined say to me is that if they did not spend the additional time on polish, Rovio would not exist today, let alone be worth over $1 billion.
- Rovio is now moving into publishing, having licensed a game called Amazing Alex. It is consistent with Zynga’s strategy to add third party publishing, thus increasing the value of their player base.
- Rovio sees itself as an entertainment company, not a game studio.
Overall, I found the article a very useful insight into one of the key players in the mobile game space.