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How Rovio's mobile game revenues keep soaring higher

How Rovio's mobile game revenues keep soaring higher

Early last year, Rovio's game division seemed unsure of its direction.

Flasgship franchise Angry Birds was a hit at the box office, but its direction on mobile was slightly less clear as Rovio soft-launched a wildly varying slate of potential new entries.

The management sim Angry Birds Holiday, New Star Soccer-esque Angry Birds Football and shoot-'em-up Angry Birds: Ace Fighter are three examples that never made the cut.

New IP Pet Monsters was also canned in December 2016, more than a year after its original soft launch.

However, some of those games soft-launched in the same period did make it to launch: Angry Birds BlastAngry Birds Evolution (which shared a number of elements with Pet Monsters) and, after more than a year in soft launch, Battle Bay.

And it was Angry Birds Evolution and Battle Bay that Rovio highlighted as having "the strongest launch ARPDAU and other KPIs ever seen in Rovio Games' business unit" as the company posted revenues of $101.3 million for Q2 FY17, up 94% year-on-year.

Two-pronged attack

The pair launched in consecutive months this year, Battle Bay in May and Angry Birds: Evolution in June.

After a lengthy soft launch and with its real-time multiplayer shooting presenting a major directional shift for Rovio, Battle Bay in particular has a lot resting on its shoulders. 

It's so far performed solidly but unspecatcularly in the US top grossing charts, peaking at 145th on May 25th and steadily declining since. As of August 22nd, it sits at 386th.

Perhaps due to the intensity of the experience it offers, Battle Bay has fared better on the US iPad top grossing chart, peaking at 63rd on July 4th and ranking 120th as of August 22nd.

Interestingly, it's found particular sucess in Southeast Asia, peaking within the top 20 grosing in the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and Cambodia.

Predictably, given the strength of its IP, the charts paint a rosier picture for Angry Birds: Evolution.

Peaking at 78th in the US iPhone top grossing charts on June 21st, its latest recorded ranking (233rd, August 22nd) is only the second time it's dropped out of the top 200.

Long-term success

So while both Battle Bay and Angry Birds: Evolution enjoyed relatively strong launches - particularly given that both are considerable departures from Rovio's usual style - this is only half the story behind Rovio's doubling of gaming revenues year-over-year.

Indeed, Rovio's biggest success of the free-to-play era came not by launching strongly, but instead recovering from a weak one

The developer transformed the metagame of Angry Birds 2 and saw revenues increase significantly as a result. And even now, more than two years on, the game is a strong performer.

Angry Birds 2 was floundering at 353rd in the US iPhone top grossing charts on March 25th 2016, but it's been on the up ever since. It recorded its all-time highest position, 34th, on February 14th 2017 and has dropped out of the top 100 only once since May 2016.

The game's renaissance has played a big part in Rovio's near-doubling of revenues as compared to the previous year, and it also provides an added confidence about the longevity that can be achieved with its other titles.

A quiet Blast

A good example would be Angry Birds Blast, which launched in December 2016 with only a fraction of the fanfare surrounding Battle Bay and Angry Birds Evolution, yet has found a solid foothold in the grossing charts.

Blast has peaked at 58th in the US iPhone grossing charts, higher than both the aforementioned titles, and has never dropped lower than 125th. As of August 22nd, it ranks at 116th.

The free-to-play transition didn't come easy for Rovio, with some missteps and projects that weren't to be.

But each of its games launched in the past year offer a strong foundation to build from, with a blueprint to follow for sustained free-to-play success in Angry Birds 2.

The revenue postings are a testament to how far the company has advanced, but the grossing charts show there is still room for improvement for the famous developer.

If Rovio continues to take the lessons from Angry Birds 2's gradual evolution and can maximise those KPIs it has touted for its new launches, we can expect to look back on even more significant strides for the company this time next year.

Rovio will be playing a big role in our upcoming Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki event on September 19th to 20th 2017. We’ll be hosting four speakers from the company, including Rovio EVP of Games Wilhelm Taht and VP of Finance for games Teemu Rautiainen.

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for PocketGamer.biz, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.

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