June 10, 2020 / 9:20 AM / a month ago

Angry Birds maker Rovio looks to women to solve growth puzzle

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Rovio Entertainment launched “Small Town Murders”, a new puzzle game aimed at women over 35, on Wednesday in its latest attempt to reduce its reliance on “Angry Birds”.

A screenshot from the Finnish game maker Rovio shows "Small Town Murders," a new puzzle game for women, in this undated handout image. Rovio/Handout via REUTERS

The Finnish firm’s new game combines a murder mystery narrative with so-called match three puzzles, a gaming trend originally initiated in 2012 by King’s Candy Crush Saga.

Rovio has sought to diversify before, releasing three games that were not Angry Birds themed since 2015, but none have become global hits in the same way as its 2011 blockbuster.

“We see the Small Town Murders game as an opportunity to expand our portfolio for different kinds of players and to tell different stories,” Rovio’s Puzzle Studio head Miika Tams said.

Rovio, which listed in 2017, has been making a steady quarterly games revenue of around 60 million euros ($68 million) for the past few years, mostly from Angry Birds games.

But earnings have been hit by rising marketing costs and by its 5G gaming platform Hatch which Rovio has not achieved the interest among investors that it had hoped for.

Until now, Rovio’s games have been popular among children, but now it is targeting adults with more money to spend on in-game purchases, such as additional moves or lives to keep playing.

“Women 35-years-old and older are our Puzzle Studio’s main target audience. We have seen that women in this age group play this kind of games the most and usually they have the opportunity to spend money on the games,” Tams told Reuters.

($1 = 0.8810 euros)

(Corrects to 2017 in paragraph 5 and to “popular among” in paragraph 7)

Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Alexander Smith

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