SINGAPORE (Dec 4): When three students — Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen and Kim Dikert — won a game-making competition hosted by HP and Nokia, they approached Peter Vesterbacka for ideas on what to do next. Vesterbacka was working in business development at HP at the time, and he advised them to carry on making games.
“It’s very clear that you guys love making games, so why don’t you start a company making games,” Vesterbacka told them. So the trio started Rovio Entertainment in 2003, and went on to publish the hit mobile game Angry Birds. The first game involved slingshotting colourful birds to break down the fortresses of green pigs.
Vesterbacka ended up joining the team at Rovio as chief marketing officer (CMO) and helping to build the brand into a successful mobile gaming franchise, even spinning off a movie. “I said we were going to have 100 million downloads, but nobody believed me. Then, we got it to 100 million in 50 months, and now it is approaching four billion and we [also] got the movie out last year,” he says.