Rovio: 10 years of making and licensing Angry Birds IP

Rovio marketing director Stephen Porter spoke at Casual Connect Europe today about ten years of Angry Birds games and licensing.

Angry Birds

  • In 2010, Angry Birds hit 50 million downloads. With 28 staff, Rovio worked with partners to sell 40,000 Angry Birds-themed products.
  • 2011 saw the company grow to 225 employees. The Angry Bird titles reached 500m downloads. Partners sold 30m licensed products. At this time, games contributed 70% of the company’s €103m revenue. The remaining 30% came from licensing.
  • 2012 was the year when Angry Birds’ popularity peaked. At this point, licensing accounted for 45% of Rovio’s €152m revenue (that’s more than 416m licensed products sold). The developer secured deals with over 200 partners, including NASA and Star Wars. Rovio now employed 518 people. Lifetime downloads reach 1.3 billion.
  • In 2013, the company kept growing, with its staff exceeding 800. All-times downloads climbed to two billion. Partners sold 436m licensed products. 47% of Rovio’s €156m revenue was from licensing.
  • In 2014, brand fatigue started to kick in. Rovio had to start exploring unusual licensing venues, including HDMI cables, duct tape, and fishing lures. With 2.5bn downloads across its portfolio of games, Rovio saw its staff decrease to 690. The number of licensed products sold dropped to 295m. Licensing division only brought in 26% of the company’s €158m revenue.
  • 2015 was a difficult time for the developer. The number of downloads grew to 3.1bn, but the licensing division only sold 226m units, which represented 20% of 142m in revenue. The number of employees dropped to 470. Rovio launched Angry Birds 2. The game wasn’t immediately off to a great start. But successful live ops ensured its long-term success.
  • In 2016, Angry Birds Movie came out. The company started working on free-to-play games. The company earned €192m (€33m from licensing).
  • In 2017, the revenue increased to €297m (€49m from licensing).
  • In 2018, overall sales brought in €281m (€31m/11% from licensing). Angry Birds 2 revenue hit €117m, with the game’s lifetime sales reaching €253m. Angry Birds lifetime downloads stood at 4.5bn.
  • 2019 wasn’t covered in the presentation, but at least we know that The Angry Birds Movie 2 is coming out in August.

Today, games clearly represent the main sales driver for the company. According to Porter, the developer focuses on quality over quantity.

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