Rovio hopes lightning strikes twice with Angry Birds 2

The company promises in a tweet on that the new Angry Birds will be "Bigger. Badder. Birdier."

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Angry Birds 2 is set to launch on July 30. Rovio

Mobile game developer Rovio is set to unveil a sequel to its first hit, Angry Birds.

The game developer will launch Angry Birds 2 to App Stores worldwide on July 30, Rovio confirmed in a blog post on Thursday. The company has provided few details on the title, but in a tweet, the company promised that the game will be "Bigger. Badder. Birdier."

Angry Birds launched in 2009 as a simple but addicting premise, requiring users to slingshot birds at structures used to protect pigs. The game quickly shot up to the top of the iOS game charts and made its way to a slew of other platforms over the years, including Android, Windows Phone, and both game consoles and PCs.

The game's popularity helped Rovio turn its small development house into a prominent mobile game company. Rovio has since launched several Angry Birds offshoots, including one focused on the "Star Wars" franchise. That title was flanked by Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Stella, and a host of other themed titles. However, there has never been a true sequel to the original Angry Birds.

Angry Birds 2 could prove to be far more important to Rovio's future than the company is letting on. While Rovio has tallied over 3 billion game downloads across the Angry Birds franchise, financially, things aren't going as well. In an effort to build out its business, Rovio has expanded into several other areas, including plush toys, theme parks, and even a full-length feature film. So far, those divisions haven't performed so well, and Rovio may need a popular title to counterbalance struggles it's facing in other areas.

The Finland-based company posted earnings before interest and taxes of just 10 million euros (about $10.7 million) in 2014, down significantly from the 36.5 million euros the company generated in 2013. Revenue tumbled from 173.5 million euros in 2013 to 158.3 million euros in 2014.

The Angry Birds maker's rough 2014 was due in large part to its heavy focus on consumer goods. According to Rovio, revenue in its "consumer products" category fell from 73.1 million euros in 2013 to 41.4 million in 2014. The company's games division was the one strong showing, raking in 110.7 million euros in 2014 compared with 95.2 million in 2013. Rovio generated nearly 600 million game downloads worldwide in 2014.

Despite the lofty numbers in gaming, Rovio is no longer the strongest force in a mobile game landscape dominated by the likes of Minecraft and Clash of Clans. The trouble Rovio has had fending off competitors became apparent in December when the company announced that it would lay off 110 employees of a global workforce of approximately 800. The "reorganisation" also included Rovio closing a game development studio in Tampere, Finland.

Still, Angry Birds 2 could provide Rovio a much-needed jolt and boost some of its ancillary businesses. If it's successful, Angry Birds 2 could also be a viable lead-in to the company's computer-animated Angry Birds action-comedy starring Jason Sudeikis and Peter Dinklage, which is set for a global premiere in May 2016.

Rovio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.