Angry Birds developer Rovio is set to be acquired by video game publisher Sega. Here are all the details!
We don't think anyone had video game publisher Sega purchase one of the biggest mobile game franchises on their bingo card this year but here it is.
As of today, the Japanese gaming publisher Sega has agreed to buy Rovio, the studio behind the Angry Birds franchise for ca. €706 million ($774 million). While the deal is already signed, it is not expected to close until Q3 of this year. Like other deals on this scale, it has to be approved by market authorities first.
Rovio as reported last year employs over 550 employees across eight studios around the world. Their breakout hit, Angry Birds which has since seen movie adaptations and many, many cross-media projects is said to be the first game to be downloaded over a billion times.
With the mobile gaming market makes up over 50% of the total gaming market in revenue, as reported by Statista in 2022. It is clear that Sega wants to position itself in that market with one of its top developers. But there is more to this than simply having another asset in your portfolio.
Why is Sega buying Angry Birds Developer Rovio?
There are many good reasons to buy one of the market leaders in mobile titles. And Sega's current advance into mobile games had been timid at best. Most of their releases consist of either mobile ports of their known titles or adaptations of their existing franchises.
While not unsuccessful, they have yet to see a hit release that establishes them in the mobile market. With mobile gaming's market growth dwarfing the console market, many older publishers will have to rethink strategies if they want to stay relevant in this changing market.
The hope is to break new ground, similar to Nintendo's release of the still popular Pokémon GO in 2016 which made headlines even outside the gaming bubble.
So why Rovio specifically then? Why not partner up with developers like other publishers and commission Niantic (Pokemon GO), NCSOFT (Linage W, Blade & Soul) or Zynga (FarmVille) to make a title?
Besides being well-established in the field of mobile games, the Finnish developer Rovio has also a games platform called Beacon.
A powerful tool meant to analyze player habits, manage a game's development cycle, monetization, and so on. This has little use for big console games but makes it very easy to manage multiple live service titles under one banner. And is probably one of the major reasons why Sega pushed for this purchase.
While we can at this point only guess what the Japanese publisher's plans going forward are, it'll probably involve putting all their big franchises in big mobile releases.
With the global games market expected to grow to $263.3 billion by 2026 and the mobile gaming market making up more than half of this, it is just a way for Sega to set itself up for the future.
We can also expect more and more publishers to make bigger pushes into the mobile market, even with massive games like Apex Legends Mobile and Final Fantasy 7: First Soldier shutting down. It only shows that what works on the console and PC doesn't always work on mobile, and development cycles tend to be very different.
The acquisition also fits perfectly into Sega's portfolio after they merged with Sammy Holdings in 2004. In the West, many tend to think that Sega only makes video games like Sonic, Yakuza, and Persona. While in truth they do everything from Arcades and amusement centers to Pachinko, toy manufacturing, and theme parks.
While Rovio's mobile business will probably be integrated into its video game division, it might also form a new separate pillar altogether.
We'll keep you updated if any more information becomes available here on ESTNN