It seems like Rovio's attempt at expanding into the MMO market has not been met with the success they had hoped. In January of last year, the company opened up a London production studio and hired a seven-person team to helm their new project. Now, a little over a year, later Rovio has shot down the walls and made all the green pigs disappear, only, in this case, it wasn't pigs, it was the entire staff of the London branch and its offices.
Originally, Rovio had planned to expand the London studio to 20 employees and have them focus on helping the company break into the MMO market. But, after a rough fourth quarter, where many of Rovio's new titles underperformed, the decision was made to switch focus back to their main franchises. In a statement posted on Gamasutra, Rovio CEO Kati Levoranta explained why they made the difficult decision to consolidate:
"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."
Rovio will be putting most of their focus into making sure Angry Birds 2 and Angry Birds Friends stay top competitors on the live market. Hopefully, the seven people directly affected by the shutdown will find themselves gainfully employed somewhere else soon.