Realising potential: Rovio reveals how developers can brand their way to success

Learn from the best

Realising potential: Rovio reveals how developers can brand their way to success

How can you ensure your game is successful? At one point you might have thought that designing a game that plays well, looks great, and excites gamers would have been an acceptable answer.

Games, however, are evolving, and now it's not enough to create a great game. No. Now it's all about creating a great brand.

The best games must now have the potential to become global brands, to reach audiences outside of the gaming sphere, and to permeate every faucet of our lives. Only then will a game be able to compete with the likes of Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, or Plants vs. Zombies.

Of course, that's no easy feat, which is why Marja Konttinen, MD at Rovio, was on hand at this year's Pocket Gamer Connects in Helsinki to explain how the Finnish studio turned its big red bird into a global superstar.

Game changer

"So, how do we take your brand out of a game, and put it into something else?" asked Konttinen, opening her talk by asking the question that's currently driving most game developers mad.

It could be socks, it could be candy, or it could be plush toys. We've pretty much tried them all.
Marja Konttinen

Indeed, Konttinen explained that developers who are truly invested in becoming branding behemoths must recognise that no market, no idea, is too farfetched.

"It could be socks, it could be candy, or it could be plush toys. We've pretty much tried them all, and they're all a really cool way of extending a brand and making it available to other fans," said Konttinen.

"Licensees very often want to work with IPs because they give them new visibility, access to an existing fan-base, and, when it comes to consumer products, access to retailers.

"[Partnerships] might be able to get you in front of a whole new set of eyes, that you might not have reached otherwise, but it could also open new doors, for example, into Japan."

Brand fit

It's age old advice, but following your gut is a must, because, according to Konttinen, if your gut tells you a deal is right, it almost certainly is. It'll just make sense.

"No one knows what 'brand fit' really is, but it's usually a gut feeling. A deal has to make sense to you, and the partner, all while offering something completely new for you both," explained Konttinen.

"You also really need to understand your partner by aligning their audiences, aligning their targets, and understanding their goals."

It's also important to keep your fans at the forefront of your thinking. As a developer you must never forget that, ultimately, every deal you make is for the fans.

"What's the fan, what's the end user going to get out of this?" asked Konttinen, "[Will your fans] be looking at this saying 'that's so cool, I'm so glad those guys are working together'. Are your fans getting something extra out of it?"

Pocket Gamer Connects is the biggest mobile games show in Europe, which brings together the best speakers and delegates from across the industry and from all over the world.

To-date, Pocket Gamer Connects has been held in London and Helsinki, and the show will be heading back to the UK in January 2015. To find out more about the latest show, head on over to


What do you call someone who has an unhealthy obsession with video games and Sean Bean? That'd be a 'Chris Kerr'. Chris is one of those deluded souls who actually believes that one day Sean Bean will survive a movie. Poor guy.