Alex Pelletier-Normand, CEO:
I can definitely say this first quarter as CEO has been exciting. The Rovio hive has been buzzing with activity during these first months of 2021. The good momentum from last year has carried on to the first quarter of 2021 and resulted in sales growth across our key games. Our Games business grew 3.4% y-o-y in reported currencies and 10% in comparable currencies. Our profitability was healthy during the quarter; our Adjusted Operating Profit Margin reached 15%. This represents a decline y-o-y which can be attributed to 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. Our operating expenses also increased y-o-y, as we have added two more game studios, aimed at extending our market footprint.
Our biggest game, Angry Birds 2 grew y-o-y and the game’s revenue improved further towards the end of the quarter. In fact, the game reached the half-a-billion euros mark in cumulative gross bookings since its launch in 2015. Angry Birds Dream Blast had a large update in the first quarter, which had a positive impact on monetization. The game grew vs. the seasonally stronger Q4 2020 and we look forward to further improving the game going forward. Angry Birds Friends is our oldest live game, and it continued its impressive momentum and grew 44% y-o-y, reaching its best quarter since Q3 2018. Small Town Murders ended the first quarter with seven straight weeks of consecutive growth. These games demonstrate well the longevity and tenacity of the games-as-a-service business model and our sophisticated live operations.
Our new game development pipeline made good progress in the first quarter. In January we soft-launched Angry Birds Journey, a casual slingshot game that targets a broad audience. More recently, at the beginning of April, Supernatural City also joined the list of games in soft launch. The game perfectly exemplifies our genre mastery strategy as it is our second narrative puzzle game, building from the experience of Small Town Murders. Finally, we were delighted to virtually celebrate with our Copenhagen studio, the global launch of Darkfire Heroes, a strategic team-based RPG. The game launched on 15th of April and we will now focus on scaling the game gradually and keep on improving it as a live service. I am really pleased to see how this newly acquired studio was able to flourish within the Rovio ecosystem and how together, we were able to reach this milestone with the game.
As stated in the introduction, it has been a busy and exciting quarter! I am proud of the progress achieved by the teams, and at the same time, I see how much potential there is. We made big steps in new game development and improved our live titles across the board. It is worth noting that we released a second game working from home, showing that Rovians adapted well to the situation and continue to deliver consistently. We will continue building on the progress and focus on seeking new sources for organic growth. We will continue to map out and identify potential targets for M&A to gain new growth vectors and diversify our portfolio. We have a positive momentum, and we are determined to keep it up throughout the year.
Link to full report here.