Less than half of Rovio employees work on games

Less than half of Rovio employees work on games
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

January 16th 2014 at 10:37AM

Angry Birds developer also wants to make always-on mobile games

We all know the Angry Birds merchandise juggernaut is a hefty beast, but a Rovio exec has confirmed that more than half the company is actually working on non-gaming ventures.

In an interview with VentureBeat, Rovio's executive vice president for games Jami Laes said the studio now has more than 800 employees, but the minority are actually focused on development.

"I think less than half [of our employees] are working on games now," he said. "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."

Laes also revealed Rovio's ambition to create much larger, more technically complex mobile games, but admits that these would require a permanent and stable connection to the internet.

"For us, the biggest challenge is that we want to build bigger games that have higher fidelity, but represent a bigger download," Laes said. "On mobile networks it takes time and it's not a convenient experience to get that download right away. 

"We want to build games that require connectivity as you continue to play the game, to have that back-end connection and cloud processing and so on available. It's about the mobile connection, when people are on the subway or in an elevator or something like that and want to continue to have a seamless experience.

"Before we get to a point where the cloud is always available, always reachable with high bandwidth, that puts a limit on the kind of gaming experiences we can build on mobile. 

"There's enough pixels, power and 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."