"Angry Birds" maker Rovio said this morning that it would lay off as many as 260 employees, or around 37 percent of its workforce, in order to cut costs and "sharpen focus" on its core businesses of games, media, and consumer products.
"Fundamental changes are needed to ensure Rovio succeeds in its global ambitions to be the leading entertainment company with mobile games at its heart," said Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala. While saying this was a "personally difficult decision" to make, Rantala claimed it was "absolutely necessary" for the future success of the company.
The announcement of layoffs, which will affect all of the company's offices (with the exception of US employees involved in the making of the upcoming "Angry Birds" movie), follows the successful launch of "Angry Birds 2," which was well-received by critics and has been downloaded more than 50 million times, according to Rovio.
Rovio, whose revenue fell by 9 percent in 2014 to around $180 million, was relatively late in adopting the free-to-play model business model for its games. Free-to-play titles are free to download and play but typically include additional features that can be unlocked after paying an additional fee. "Angry Birds 2" relies heavily on these free-to-play game mechanics, a move that was criticized by some fans.