Interview

2015 in Review: Rovio's new head of games Wilhelm Taht on a big year coming

2015 in Review: Rovio's new head of games Wilhelm Taht on a big year coming

It's all change at Angry Birds developer Rovio.

It's got a new CEO inbound, while an ex-CEO Mikael Hed is back in day-to-day operations, running the company's media division.

And, most importantly, in the engine room, the company has a new head of games.

We caught up with Wilhelm Taht, to get his take on the role and his review of 2015.

PocketGamer.biz: Congratulations on the new job. What does Rovio's head of games do, and what can you tell us about the company's plans for 2016?

Wilhelm Taht: Thank you sir! This is an awesome and humbling opportunity really to help a phenomenal group of people achieve their very best in game development.

As Head of Games, I'm responsible for all aspects of Rovio's Games business.

We have a very important year ahead of us with The Angry Birds Movie coming to cinemas in May 2016 and a number of amazing games launching throughout the year. We will also be supporting several of our top performers through increased focus on performance marketing.

Taht in characteristic action

Our goals are clear for 2016 and beyond; accelerate growth and fan reach worldwide. I am honoured, committed and phenomenally excited to lead Rovio Games into our next successful chapter.

What do you think was the most significant mobile games news of 2015?

Aside from Angry Birds 2, the sequel to the most downloaded game in history, it has to be the acquisition of King by Activision.

The combined reach and revenue is quite amazing. One could say that they're off to a good start ;-)

How did the focus of Rovio's business change in 2015?

The leadership transition at Rovio reinforces our strategic focus for 2016.

Over the past year we have been doubling down on our core businesses: media, games and consumer products.

The current leadership transition at Rovio reinforces that strategic focus for 2016, giving more power to the units, getting back to our entrepreneurial roots and supporting the movie launch in the best way.

What do you predict will be the most important trends in 2016?

In 2016 I think "modern RPG" will continue to grow in the west as a genre, Asia will continue to outpace the west in terms of overall growth, and I believe pretty soon we will see some new exciting genres peaking in top-grossing in the west.

Also believe "ads integration 3.0" will start to pop up across the industry, defined as brand integrations.

We have some of the most engaged consumers in all of media, yet as an industry we have been poor at convincing brands of the opportunity there is to reach this audience through our games.

What was your favourite mobile game of the year?

I've been playing Nibblers and Angry Birds 2 a fair bit from the Rovio releases, both beautiful experiences.

I fell head-over-heels into Pirate Kings during the spring and played Score! Hero and Farm Away quite a lot. There's a few unreleased games from Rovio also that have hooked me recently.

At Pocket Gamer Connects London 2016, you'll be running another PeckaKucha session. Who's going to be talking this time, and why do you think the format is so exciting?

I think Mark Sorrell's PechaKucha presentation from Helsinki PG Connects sums up pretty neatly why I feel PechaKucha is so damn nice as a presentation format.

Note NSFW

The moment he falls off his horse is an epic moment in conference history (got you there Mark!).

In London we will welcome at least Oscar Clark, Jon Jordan, Eric Seufert and Maarten Noyons on stage.

If you'd like to join, please drop me a note on Twitter: @wilhelm_taht

Still open for 2 or 3 speakers! It will be amazing, yet again.

Aside from PeckaKucha, what else are you most looking forward to at Pocket Gamer Connects London 2016?

The show has been growing every time, so can't wait to see what kind of artillery you're bringing out this time.

Obviously connecting with friends I know and friends I don't know (yet). And learning new things.

What's your New Year's resolution and what resolution would you enforce on the industry?

More pigs, better pigs.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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