Espoo, Finland-based mobile game maker Rovio Entertainment announced yesterday that it would lay off more 260 employees, representing over one-third of its 670-person workforce. Most of the job losses (230 of them) will occur at its Finnish headquarters, with the rest affecting overseas employees.
“We did too many things,” Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala told the Wall Street Journal. The 12-year-old company aspired to be a modern-day entertainment company in the Disney vein, and had attempted to extend its Angry Birds brand into merchandising, theme parks, and “educational playgrounds.”
Rovio has lost nearly 100 million active users of its mobile games in just the last three years, failing to keep up with the free-to-play model of other mobile game producers like “Candy Crush” maker King Digital and “Clash of Clans” producer Supercell. Now, Rovio is hoping that its Angry Birds feature will reverse the fading brand’s fortunes. The company is spending $110 million of its own money to produce the film in Canada. The layoffs, Rovio said, won’t affect anyone working on the film, which is the most expensive film in Finnish history.
“Some people might think we are crazy, but we are very excited,” Rantala said about the film in a recent interview. “We are very confident that this is the right move because when we decided to make it we decided to make it right.”
The Angry Birds Movie, directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, is scheduled to debut in U.S. theaters on May 20, 2016.
If you work at Rovio and know more about the layoffs, leave a comment below!