The popular mobile game franchise Angry Birds may soon have a new owner, as reports suggest that Sega is considering purchasing Rovio Entertainment, the game developer behind the Angry Birds franchise, for a whopping $1 billion. A report from The Wall Street Journal indicates that the deal could be closed as early as next week.

Rovio’s Journey and Previous Acquisition Talks

Rovio Entertainment, a Finnish video game developer founded in 2003 by Helsinki University of Technology students Niklas Hed, Jamo Vakevainen, and Kim Dikert, is best known for its Angry Birds franchise. The franchise has expanded to include movies and merchandise. Israeli developer Playtika previously attempted to acquire Rovio for an estimated $800 million, but the talks ended in March this year.

Angry Birds and Beyond

Rovio removed the classic Angry Birds game from smartphones earlier this year due to its popularity impacting the success of the company’s newer, more profitable titles. Red’s First Flight is still available for iPhone users, while Android and Apple users can still download and play Angry Birds 2, Angry Birds Friends, and Angry Birds Journey.

Rovio is more than just Angry Birds; it operates studios in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Canada, with a subsidiary in Turkey. Each studio has its own mission and focus, including Puzzle Studio, Darkfire Games, Ruby Games, and a Montreal-based studio that explores the role of AI and ML in future games and game production.

Implications of a Potential Sega Acquisition

If the Sega deal moves forward, the future of Angry Birds could include characters from Sega-owned video games such as Sonic the Hedgehog. The acquisition may even pave the way for a comeback of Crazy Taxi with angry birds at the wheel.

Big money moves in the mobile gaming industry are not uncommon. Microsoft’s attempt to buy Activision-Blizzard-King was more about the mobile aspect than the Call of Duty franchise. Rovio’s appeal to Sega may be due to its studio focused on exploring AI and ML in the mobile gaming space.