Angry Birds maker Rovio takes aim at staff, axes a third of them

O Rovio, Rovio, wherefore art thou, Rovio?

Angry Birds 2 poster

Angry Birds maker Rovio has announced plans to lay off 260 employees.

The Finnish mobile-games-developer-turned-entertainment-franchise said on Wednesday that roughly one third of its work force will be cut as it narrows its focus on its core games and media businesses.

"This is personally a difficult decision," said Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala.

"However, it is certain that a leaner and more agile Rovio is absolutely necessary to move forward and take the company to new successes in the future. We will work with and support all our employees through this period of change."

Rovio was originally founded as a family business by the Hed clan, and reached its high point in 2012 with a €55.5m (US$63m) annual profit. Since then it has fallen into decline as it's struggled to deliver another title to match the success of Angry Birds. Last year, Rantala took over the CEO role from Mikael Hed.

In announcing the move, Rantala admitted that the company's decision to turn Angry Birds from a game into a merchandising empire might have been too ambitious.

"Rovio's growth and eagerness to explore new business opportunities over the past few years has been exceptional," Rantala said.

"As a result, we did too many things. In our current financial condition we must now put focus on where we are at our best: in creating magnificent gaming experiences, in producing an amazing animation movie, and in delighting our fans with great products."

That animation movie (based on... you guessed it, Angry Birds) is set to be released in May of 2016. ®

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