LEAVING THE NEST: Rovio, the Finnish gaming company behind the hit franchise Angry Birds, is saying goodbye to its short-lived education efforts. The company announced it will slash 213 jobs—about one-quarter of its staff—and restructure its operations to focus on games, media and consumer products.
Failing to make the cut is the company’s fledgling education business, launched in early 2014 under the name “Fun Learning.” It was an effort to package Finnish pedagogy with the Angry Birds brand to create a set of pre-school curriculum and teacher training materials for children ages 3 to 6. The company also built a handful of early learning centers, called “Angry Birds Playground,” in China and Singapore. (This AP video gives a peek at what the Shanghai center looks like.)
Rovio’s decision to calling quits on its educational venture comes as no surprise, given the intense scrutiny on its stagnating business. Revenue for 2014, at €158.3 million, dipped 9 percent from the previous year as the company has struggled to create hit games on par with Angry Birds. Rovio has been milking the brand through TV shows and theme parks, and the big focus for 2016 is an Angry Birds movie.
“A spinoff startup company is looking to find funding to continue the business in a company focusing on Angry Birds Playground and digital learning tools,” a company spokeswoman told Reuters.