Is the Angry Birds era over?
From movies and gummy bears to toys and clothing, the folks at Rovio have successfully put the Angry Birds stamp on every type of product imaginable. Of course, the heart of the Angry Birds franchise was found in Rovio's ever growing selection of Angry Birds gaming titles that appeared on a multitude of different platforms.
Indeed, the Angry Birds phenomenon at one point was so prevalent that there was sound speculation that Rovio itself might choose to go public. I myself fell prey to what can only be called an Angry Bird addiction many years ago. With new levels for existing games and entirely new themes to explore and conquer (i.e Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars), there were no shortage of avenues for fans to get their Angry Bird fix in.
Flash forward to 2014 and the landscape looks markedly different as Rovio's revenues have fallen drastically. Earlier this week, Rovio announced that its net profit in 2013 was more than 50% lower than its profit in 2012. Specifically, profits for the Finnish-based gaming company fell from $77 million down to $37 million.
Which isn't to say that Rovio isn't trying to turn things around.
The New York Times reported earlier this week:
Late last year, Rovio launched its first effort at a freemium game, and has diversified its efforts in recent years into movies, animation and theme parks to reduce its reliance on online gaming. The company's business of licensing the Angry Birds brand for consumer products like candy dispensers and lunch boxes now generates almost 50 percent of Rovio's yearly revenue, according to the company's annual financial report.
Indeed, Angry Birds, once a mainstay anywhere you might look on the App Store, is now nowhere to be found.
With respect to the iPad, there are just two Angry Bird titles in the top 50 list of paid apps while no Angry Birds titles crack the top 50 for free apps.
With respect to the iPhone, there are just two Angry Birds titles in the top 100 list of paid apps while no Angry Birds titles even make the top 150 for top grossing iPhone apps.
So has the Angry Birds phenomenon peaked?
In terms of actual iOS gameplay, it seems that the answer is a resounding yes.
So if the Angry Birds game is a laggard when it comes to making money, that leaves little for Rovio to do but develop compelling all-new game experiences, and as any game studio can attest, that's easier said than done. The company seems aware of the challenge it faces: "After three years of very strong growth, 2013 was a foundation-building year," chief financial officer Herkkop Soininen offered in a company statement this Monday.
Rovio has released a number of non-Angry Birds titles (Amazing Alex, Tiny Thief), but again, none of these titles have come anywhere close to matching the phenomenon that was Angry Birds.
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