Rovio's flagship Angry Birds franchise appears to be hovering mid-air rather than soaring higher and higher, but Rovio leadership isn't concerned.
For the quarter ending March 31, 2021, Rovio €25.2 million (~$30.5 million) in gross bookings for Angry Birds 2, its largest game, which is up 1 percent year-over-year.
Its second-largest game, Angry Birds Dream Blast, meanwhile slid downward somewhat between 2020 and 2021. Dream Blast reported €15.4 million in gross bookings, down 5 percent, due to, in Rovio's words, a much lower level of user acquisition efforts.
However Angry Birds Friends reported gross bookings of €8.1 million, up 44 percent year-over-year, Friends' best quarter since late 2018. Looking at Rovio's video game business as a whole, game revenue is up 3.4 percent year-over-year to 64.9 million.
In a statement, recently appointed Rovio CEO Alexandre Pelletier-Normand frames each of the studio's heavy hitters in a positive light, noting that, Angry Birds 2 saw revenue improvements late in the quarter and Dream Blast saw a major update this quarter that had a positive impact on monetization.
"These games demonstrate well the longevity and tenacity of the games-as-a-service business model and our sophisticated live operations," says Pelletier-Normand.
He adds that a hit to the company's profitability for the quarter is due to deliberate actions on Rovio's part, including "an incremental increase in UA spending, building up for the launch of Darkfire Heroes and taking advantage of opportunities we detected in other games, such as Small Town Murders." For reference, Rovio spent €17.3 million on user acquisition this quarter compared to €13.5 million the year before.
"Our operating expenses also increased y-o-y, as we have added two more game studios, aimed at extending our market footprint," notes Pelletier-Normand.
As a whole, Rovio closed out the first quarter of 2021 with revenue of€67.1 million, up 0.7 percent, and operating profit of €10.1 million.