During a Q&A session at the Rovio capital markets day 2022, Alex Pelletier-Normand and René Lindell, CEO and CFO of Rovio respectively, spoke of how Pelletier-Normand’s tenure has been defined by a commitment to live service success at the cost of creating new experiences, which could have been a different growth vector.
Pelletier-Normand said: “It’s difficult to master completely different genres. Right now, we’re using a lot of advantages from building our highly-engaged audience” – specifically, players who will engage with the full suite of Rovio activities – “and this is being built into our M&A strategies. Will the players of this studio’s games want to play Angry Birds? We have tools and marketing strategies to tell this.
“But it’s clear that developing expertise [outside of our genres] internally would be a long endeavour.”
This aligns with his comments to PocketGamer.biz, when asked about Rovio’s efforts into midcore RPG Darkfire Heroes, now abandoned, and Small Town Murders, a match-three murder mystery which has ceased all UA activity. But if Rovio is not internally pursuing breaking out of its wheelhouse, it is still looking beyond mobile.
Pelletier-Normand stated: “We don’t have much to tell you right now, but we’re sticking with inclusivity, accessibility, multiplayer as part of the brand DNA, and that is absolutely on multiple platforms.”
Committing to M&A
Pelletier-Normand also spoke of the firm’s commitment to further M&A, with Rovio’s substantial “war chest” and exceedingly low amounts of debt will support. Rovio identified four targets for future M&A – namely, game compatibility with the Angry Birds IP over promising new IP.
But ultimately, Rovio expects most of its growth to come from mobile F2P, despite the “headwinds” identified in Rovio’s Q1 2022 financial report. Rovio CFO René Lindell stated that Rovio studios in Toronto, Montreal, and Copenhagen (which was working on Darkfire Heroes) are expected to contribute revenue by 2024, but did not discuss specifics on expectations.
“They all have to make meaningful contributions, but we think about meaningful revenue in different ways.”
Rovio is not known for releasing new titles consistently. But ultimately, to stay on track for Rovio’s revenue growth expectations, the firm is targeting one major release annually: “It’s important that games can scale and become meaningful – such as Angry Birds Journey. Doing one of these launches per year is a good starting point.”