Rovio CEO Talks ATT, Angry Birds Protection & Blockchain | Pocket Gamer.biz
As a rule, interviews go on. The wheels turn slowly before you can get to the big stuff, usually celebrating accomplishments before looking at challenges – especially as Rovio closed 2021 with a record fourth quarter and saw the release of Angry Birds Journey. But Rovio CEO Alex Pelletier-Normand wanted to respond to the singular event that has shaken up the mobile gaming landscape over the past year: the post-IDFA world and Apple’s introduction of App Tracking. Transparency (ATT).
“We were very comfortable with our strategy. Our brands have broad appeal, and while we didn’t have any new releases in Q4, that’s when we started scaling Angry Birds Journey, and our 2021 acquisition, Ruby Games , also achieved good results.
Although Google has embarked on a similar course of privacy overhaul, Pelletier-Normand is confident that Rovio’s current approach: “The various networks were very good at identifying players who would be useful for your game – who would enjoy and , eventually, would participate in IAPs.Now they are more of a brute force tool, which means that part of your adaptation as a developer is to ensure that your game now does the work previously done by these networks.
We didn’t know what to expect from ATT. Until this happened it was hard to be sure we were doing all we could
“Games now need to identify engaging types of players and tailor what your game offers to each – what we call segmentation. Again, big brands and high appeal brands have an edge on this.”
“In the current state of the industry, if you want to focus on games with a very niche audience, you’re going to have a hard time. We’ve made sure Angry Birds is very inclusive from the start – we want everyone plays Angry Birds, rather than speaking more directly to a particular part of the audience.
break the red
Relying on core franchises may seem somewhat old-fashioned in the ever-fluid and ever-disruptive mobile games industry, but this approach is informed by Rovio’s past experiences outside of the Angry Birds franchise, such as Darkfire Heroes, an action RPG that is no longer supported. by Rovio, and Small Town Murders, a Match-Three Murder Mystery.
“At one point, we were really scattered. We tried to explore many genres, especially midcore, and we were everywhere. So in 2020-21 we really focused on our casual games and our Angry Birds games.
“The Darkfire team pivoted to something else. The quality of the title was very high and we could have put more effort into trying to improve the metrics. But the market changed while we were working on Darkfire and, in the end account, and I don’t think the headline matches the direction the market is heading.
Pelletier-Normand confirmed that no internal Rovio staff were continuing their work on Darkfire Heroes, and while Rovio arrested all AUs for the small town murders, the former proved more promising.
At one point, we were really scattered. We tried to explore many genres, especially midcore, and we were everywhere.
“We really think we have something special, in terms of handling the action phase in Match-3 matches, and the team has been working very actively and making great progress in the shadows since we started. stopped UA on Small Town Murders It’s a must battle for Rovio – we want to be one of the best companies in the world in Match-Three – so it’s definitely something we’re not giving up.
Equally unusual for mobile game companies is to have franchises with multiple blockbuster movies and a 2022 Netflix animated series. was overhauled in 2021. “That’s when we really started thinking about different partnerships.
“But we are very picky with that. We wouldn’t give carte blanche to anyone. Angry Birds games are either co-developed or completely in-house, which wasn’t always the case before, but it is now. With shows or movies, we have to make sure the projects and our vision for the franchise are aligned. We know we’re lucky to have an amazing brand to play with, but it’s also essential that we protect it.
Anyone hoping for an adult detective series with Red as a catapulted bird-turned-drug dealer won’t be thrilled with Pelletier-Normand’s response: “That would be surprising.” At least he laughed.
Blockchain, NFT and the designer economy
Less fun is how Rovio explores blockchain and NFTs – at least, probably for those funneling millions of dollars into attempts to make blockchain gaming their own on mobile. Unsurprisingly, Pelletier-Normand confirmed that Rovio explored blockchain functionality in games long “before the current hype,” but said the current terminology doesn’t align with the company’s direction.
We are very careful not to associate Angry Birds with technology or tools that are not necessarily considered sustainable at this point.
“We are game creators. We create games, we create joy. And the only reason we thought about it is because we believe there is a way to deliver value that is not based on speculation, but rather brings true intrinsic value to the consumer. Games are used for more than playing now. These are social networks, and if you give players the tools to create something in these universes, it just creates additional value for everyone.
“So we don’t call it blockchain, because it’s a technical solution. We call it the design economy. We try to allow our players to be in an environment where they can interact, create, share and even sell some of the things they make.
Unlike the majority of blockchain gaming entities that currently directly target parties already engaged and invested in blockchain and NFT initiatives, one might perceive Rovio’s dedicated pursuit of the casual market as a hindrance. But Pelletier-Normand was keen to emphasize the distance between the company’s blockchain exploration and its target audience.
“The Angry Birds brand must remain safe and accessible. It is aimed at a younger audience. We are very careful not to associate it with technology or tools that are not necessarily considered sustainable at this point. I’m not saying there’s no value to bring to Angry Birds players, but we’re in no rush to do so.
“While our designer economy project doesn’t use the Angry Birds branding, it certainly has broad appeal and is inclusive, and is a bit more immersive than a casual game. We’re excited about this internally but we are not ready to say too much about this title because we are still in development.