Angry Birds maker Rovio announced the opening of a new London studio that's meant to expand the company's portfolio to new original franchises. The London branch will focus on developing massive multiplayer online (MMO) games and is already working on one such title based on an original IP, Rovio revealed on Monday. Antti Viitanen, Rovio's Senior Vice President of Studios, labeled London as "the most logical place" for a new branch of the company, adding how the capital of the United Kingdom attracts a wide variety of talent. Viitanen also said the opening of this new division marks another step in Rovio's long-term strategy of increasing its profitability. Rovio London is already operational and will employ around 20 people by 2019.
The company is currently advertising three positions at its new London branch which is looking for a technical director and a game developer, as well as an art director. Rovio London is headed by one Mark Sorrell who revealed that the firm will mostly focus on mobile platforms. While Sorrell didn't confirm the upcoming MMO developed by Rovio London will launch on Android, his comment certainly seems indicative of that. The head of the studio also admitted that mobile MMOs aren't without competition, but stated that the market still isn't completely saturated, which is why he believes Rovio London can make a profit. The company will focus on developing games for a massive audience and isn't interested in making niche products, Sorrell told Reuters. This target audience suggests Rovio London will develop free-to-play mobile games with in-app purchases and related monetization methods, something Rovio is already experienced with.
Rovio London is the company's fifth in-house studio as the firm's network already includes three Finnish studios and another Swedish branch. The makers of Angry Birds have experienced diminishing profits in recent years, which is why they've started focusing on diversifying their portfolio and making their revenue stream less reliant on Angry Birds, a franchise that seemingly passed its peak popularity some time ago. Rovio is now hoping to release new hit mobile games that it can turn into franchises and license them for additional profit, but the company has yet to achieve major success on that front.