Rovio has revealed that it is in the process of laying off 130 employees, a figure that makes up 16% of the company’s workforce, as it looks to refocus on its most important businesses. According to chief executive Mikael Hed the company hired more staff than necessary due to forecasted growth being slower than expected.
“We are an entrepreneurial company and have been exploring multiple areas. We have been building our team on assumptions of faster growth than have materialised,” said Hed. “As a result, we announced today that we plan to simplify our organisation around our three key businesses with the highest growth potential: games, media, and consumer products.”
The news follows revelations from earlier in the week that Angry Birds has lost more than 60 million players since 2012. At its highpoint the franchise had 263 million active players but has seen that number dwindle in recent months, although the game series is still one of the most popular in the world with more 2 billion downloads across all versions. However, with Rovio releasing more Angry Birds titles the developer would likely have expected their audience to grow rather than decline.
Since the initial release of Angry Birds in 2009, Rovio have launched a number of sequels and add-ons such as Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Space along with licensed versions such as Angry Birds Star Wars and the upcoming Angry Birds Transformers. Recently the company has also released spin-offs based on the main series such as Bad Piggies, the racing game Angry Birds Go! and the RPG Angry Birds Epic.
The franchise has also expanded into other areas with the release of animated series Angry Birds Toons and Piggy Tales. A full feature film based on the series is also in the works and set to release July 1, 2016. Today also saw the announcement that Peter Dinklage will have a major role in the film, with the Game of Thrones actor joining other cast members such as Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad and Danny McBride.