Finnish developer Rovio, well known for its Angry Birds franchise, has become an entertainment behemoth, using its main property as a foundation for merchandising, cartoons and other outlets.
Now, almost 5 years after the first Angry Birds, Rovio employs 800 people. However, less than 400 are currently working on games. However, for Jami Laes, executive VP for games, the company will keep finding its future hits in his department, and not all the way around.
But games will always be at the core of Rovio. That’s our heritage. The majority of the folks who have come from different industries to work on different areas of our business, they all experienced the game as their first encounter with the brand. When it comes to future franchises, they’ll most likely see the light of day from the games department, rather than another area of our business.
Regarding Rovio’s future and ambitions, he ackowledges the current state of connectivity as the biggest barrier for online gaming.
There’s enough pixels, enough power, enough fidelity to build great games on mobile, with great UI and great controls and so on. But building that long-lasting server-backed experience right now is pretty difficult on mobile.
I’m not a big fan of online-mandatory games, especially for the impossibility of accessing them at any time. Actually, most of the times I pick my phone for playing, I tend towards experiences that rely more on consuming content than on social interaction (like I did lately with Badland or Injustice). However, that may change when overall connectivity improves… and only when it makes sense.