Rovio, the Finnish game developer behind the successful Angry Birds franchise, announced earlier today that Chief Executive Pekka Rantala is stepping down after a year in the post. Pekka has overseen a troubling twelve months at the business and during this time he has managed a restructuring exercise, which includes a number of deep job cuts. The most recent announcement concerning layoffs happened in October, where Rovio announced a loss of over 200 posts. Rovio has announced that Chief legal Officer, Kati Levoranta, will take over as the new Chief Executive from January 2016. The business has already explained it is to give greater independence to the two main divisions in the firm, games and media. The media unit will be managed by Mikael Hed, the former Chief Executive, with Wilhelm Taht taking over the games division. Wilhelm will move over from the Head of External Products.
Rovio’s chairman and main owner, Kaj Hed, explained to Reuters in an interview why the business is restructuring senior management only one year from the last change. “We used to have a corporate model with centralized decisions, but that resulted into too slow reacting in very competitive markets. As the CEO will not be so hands-on anymore, he (Rantala) felt that it wasn’t for him anymore.” Kaj also explained that the business was not planning on floating on a stock exchange any time soon, but that the European gaming industry had too many players and that there was a definite need to consolidate – here, Rovio could play a role. It remains to be seen if this is akin to struggling game developers keeping warm from the cold to survive, or if Rovio could improve fortunes.
In the very short term we have seen some positive news from Rovio, concerning the new Amazon Underground platform. Amazon Underground rewards developers by the amount of time customers spend using their applications and Rovio has four of their games on the platform. Earlier this week, Rovio announced that they have seen revenues from these four games triple via the Amazon Underground platform compared with the Amazon App Store. Whilst it’s not clear what the revenue has moved from and to, it seems that Amazon’s new generation platform may start something of a reinvention within the premium application store market.