Rovio head of games Wilhelm Taht leaves company, citing ‘personal reasons’

Rovio’s head of games, Wilhelm Taht has stepped down as the head of the company’s games business, citing "personal reasons."

Taht joined the company in 2014, but has been head of the company’s games business since the start of 2016. CEO Kati Levoranta will temporarily take on the role following Taht’s departure.

"With his leadership we have grown the Games business revenue and profitability significantly, and put together several top games teams," said Levoranta.

"We’re all going to miss his deep games experience and his visible contribution to the Rovio spirit. Going forward we will further continue to empower our studios and simplify our structure to be ever more agile."

Taht’s departure at the same time as Rovio has spoken out to say that 2017 was the best year in the studio’s history, despite issuing a profit warning late last month, with profits below what analysts predicted.

Revenue increased 55% in 2017, with games revenue including by 55.9% to €248 million. Rovio has stated that it wants to focus on growing the Angry Birds brand using several other entertainment mediums in the run-up to the next Angry Birds movie.

However, it seems somewhat like games could be a shrinking part of that future. Taht’s departure comes alongside the closure of Rovio’s London studio, at a time when recent Rovio games have underperformed.

"The year 2017 was the best year in Rovio’s history," said Levoranta in a seperate statement.

"During the year the key figures of games segment showed strong development due to the improved monetization of the top games. However, in the last quarter of the year our new games, Angry Birds Match, Angry Birds Evolution and Battle Bay landed short of our expectations. Competition in the market intensified, which led to a significant increase in the unit costs of user acquisition, especially in the puzzle genre.

"Although Rovio’s business has a healthy foundation, we are not satisfied with the current performance. Our intention is to return to a higher growth path. We seek to grow our Games business through continuous development, renewal, and improved monetization of our current top live games, and through profitable user acquisition."

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