Peter Vesterbacka – Rovio’s “Mighty Eagle” talks Angry Birds Star Wars, theme parks and when to expect that movie

Peter Vesterbacka
Peter Vesterbacka

Peter Vesterbacka

Don’t call Rovio a games company. After launching Angry Birds in 2009, Finland’s most famous and successful digital entertainment studio is now posting revenues to the tune of $106.3 million and earnings before tax of $67.6 million (2011).

The brightly coloured hoodie worn by Rovio‘s chief marketing officer and “Mighty Eagle” Peter Vesterbacka on stage at Pioneers Festival yesterday should give a clue where that revenue comes from. “Already last year, 30 per cent of our business was consumer products,” Vesterbacka told VentureVillage:

“We have some competitors in the games business when they’re saying all of their business will be digital. And what we’re always telling people, in a few years, more than half our business will be physical. So we’re going totally against the trend there.”

The launch of Angry Birds Star Wars next Thursday will see – for the first time – both a game and the products around it made available in 26 countries. “It’s massive…”

Rovio is also taking Angry Birds to eBooks and paper books, an animated series, education products and – starting with Finland and the UK – theme parks.

And rumours of a film in the works? “Of course, we want to make a few movies,” Vesterbacka said. “But to do a full feature movie, in the quality we want to do… It’s going to be three or four years, at least.”

Gaming may not be the only thing Rovio has going, but success with other titles will still be crucial to prove it’s not a one-hit wonder. The company is building several new titles and this year launched at least two new franchises: Bad Piggies and Amazing Alex.

Will Bad Piggies fly too?

“When we look at our games, we don’t see any kind of slowdown. I would say the opposite,” Vesterbacka said. “If you look at Bad Piggies, our latest launch, we never had a new franchise grow that fast. Much, much faster than Angry Birds.”

His advice for other developers is simple: “If you build a great experience for the fans, you will be successful. But if you are more focused on monetising and you know, getting money out of people’s pockets, then that’s the wrong set of priorities.” 


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