As Angry Birds loses its perch, app maker to cut jobs

To make an omelet, sometimes you have to break some eggs.

At least, that's what Angry Birds app designer Rovio is hoping will happen after it cuts up to 130 jobs, or about 16 percent of its workforce, to cope with slowing growth and games that failed to fly.

"We have been building our team on assumptions of faster growth than have materialized," Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

The game maker said it will organize around three business that it believes have the highest growth potential: Games, media and consumer products. The job cuts come as its latest Angry Birds release, a female-centric game called Stella, failed to crack the top 100 downloaded apps on Apple. While the original Angry Birds game still has more than 200 million monthly active players, the app has apparently shed 63 million players since it peaked in 2012.

"It is never easy to consider changes like this, but it is better to do them sooner rather than later, when we are in a good place to reignite growth," Hed wrote in his blog post.

Part of Rovio's issue is the popularity of newer, fresher games, such as Candy Crush Saga from app designer King, which was released in 2012. Angry Birds, meanwhile, was released in 2009.

Rovio has issued several new twists on the original game, such as Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Star Wars. But none of the releases apparently slowed down consumers' fickle interest in finding newer and fresher games.

The decision to cut its headcount comes after Rovio said in August that CEO Hed will be stepping down in January. Hed, who co-founded the company in 2003, will remain as chairman of the company's animation and movie business. He'll be replaced by Rovio chief commercial officer Pekka Rantala.

At the same time, Angry Birds itself is in no danger of flying away. The game has hatched several other lines of business, including an animated series and a 3D movie, which is set for a 2016 release. Fans who want a real-life Angry Birds experience can also visit theme park attractions in Finland, the U.K. and the U.S., including one attraction at the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex.