Alex Pelletier-Normand, CEO:
The mobile free-to-play market has continued to face headwinds during the quarter, recording its third consecutive q-o-q decline according to data.ai. As was the case in Q4 2021, we have navigated those changes with a positive outcome during Q1, starting the year on a growth path and record game revenues. The growth was fueled by the launch of Angry Birds Journey in January, the good performance of Angry Birds 2 and Angry Birds Friends, and by Ruby Games’ nice progression. Despite substantial marketing investments during the launch weeks of Angry Birds Journey, the high level of revenues kept our profitability and cash flow at a solid level.
Rovio’s largest game, Angry Birds 2 continued its strong performance with the game’s gross bookings growing over 20% year-on-year, and achieving its highest quarterly revenue since Q1 2019. This was the result of successful live operations and opportunities identified by our teams to strengthen profitable user acquisition investments. Angry Birds Friends continued to grow double digits year-on-year and reached its highest quarterly gross bookings since Q4 2016. In February, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the game. This is a great example of execution on our mission to craft joy with player-focused gaming experiences that last for decades. Our hyper-casual game studio Ruby Games also had a strong quarter with close to 45% pro forma y-o-y revenue growth driven by their new hyper-casual word game Wordus that was launched in January. With those results, the team continues to show its drive and resourcefulness.
Angry Birds Journey launched in January and quickly grew to become our third largest game. After a strong start we are now further developing the game and optimizing user acquisition, which will in the near-term be on a lower level than at launch. The next milestone for the game will be an exciting marketing influencer campaign in June, including TV advertising in the US to complement the good level of organic traffic we get on this title. I’m proud to admit that I am an avid player of that game!
We have continued to invest in new game development across our studios, focusing on casual games. The furthest games in production remains Moomin: Puzzle & Design and Ruby’s Hunter Assassin 2 which continue in soft launch. During the quarter we decided to cancel the soft launch of our narrative driven puzzle game Supernatural City. Going forward, the team will utilize their learnings in other puzzle game projects. I want to thank our team for their hard work throughout the development of the project.
At the end of the quarter, we launched a premium mobile game named Rovio Classic: Angry Birds. The game was the answer to the calls of our fans around the globe to re-experience the original Angry Birds game that was released twelve years ago. I’m delighted to see how excited the fans have been for this release. While we are not expecting significant revenues from this premium title, seeing it reach the top download positions is a great testament to the strength of the brand.
Our ‘Angry New Year’ series of product launches has put our fans and community front and center. At Rovio we’ve often looked to products like Minecraft as examples of incredibly engaged communities of creators and fans – just like our own – and so when the opportunity to partner with Microsoft for a premium Minecraft DLC (downloadable content) experience came up it was an immediate and obvious fit. This DLC launches very soon in the Minecraft Marketplace and caps off the ‘angriest spring ever’. It celebrates 12 wonderful years of Angry Birds with an adventure filled with nostalgia, secrets and an experience ripe for user generated content and fandom in general. We cannot wait to see what sort of stories can be told by our fans with this partnership between two of modern gaming’s biggest names.
In April we also announced another major milestone: Rovio games surpassed 5 billion downloads. It is both deeply humbling and exhilarating to think about everyone that engages with our games in every corner of the world. From all of us at Rovio, thank you for your continuous support!
As we look at the rest of the year ahead, we expect the market to continue to go through challenging changes resulting from the normalization of spending habits post-covid and the significant impact of Apple’s ATT (app tracking transparency) on the marketing landscape. We are focused on executing our strategy, which we believe is adapted to those changes, and we are seeking further opportunities to grow. We are looking forward to elaborate further on our strategy at our Capital Markets Day on May 11th. Finally, I want to thank all Rovians for their hard work and delivering such a flying start of the year!
read the full report.