Last week, it was announced that RuneScape developer Jagex had been acquired by US private equity firm The Carlyle Group. According to Jagex CEO Phil Mansell, the acquisition will allow the company to expand its current franchises.
“We’re looking at doing more with RuneScape and Old School — some of that is new platforms, some of that is more high-quality content on both of the games. There are new RuneScape games, as well as third-party publishing. So there’s a lot going on, and it was important for us that whoever [acquires us] bought into that and really believes in those growth opportunities we have,” Mansell told GamesIndustry.biz.
RuneScape, a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game first released in January 2001, has been recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest and most-updated free MMORPG. The game, which received the Role-Playing Game award at The Independent Game Developers’ Association Awards in 2018, has reportedly generated over $1 billion in lifetime revenue.
Meanwhile, Old School RuneScape, an MMORPG released on February 22, 2013, has a larger player base. Last October, after the release of RuneScape 3 on Steam, it was announced that Old School would arrive on the platform in 2021. Both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape generate revenue through a membership subscription that gives free-to-play members access to the game’s full pay-to-play content.
“We’ve dipped our toes in mobile, we’ve got mobile versions of our MMOs, but we haven’t fulfilled that potential fully. As we look at the next few years, I would like us to be bringing our games where players are, and not thinking so much about narrow platform differences but how we can be ubiquitous across them,” Mansell said.
“We have started development for platforms beyond mobile, but we’re not quite ready for announcements yet. We’ve had nearly 300 million players come through, so we know there’s a level of fondness for this universe and the adventures players have had within it — but not everyone plays MMORPGs anymore. There are different ways of realizing those adventures and characters, and that’s what we’re exploring. We’re looking forward to getting those towards announcements and launches in the coming years,” he added.
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