After nearly two decades in business, RuneScape developer Jagex has just had its most profitable year ever. That’s thanks in large part to the continued success of its flagship game. RuneScape is hitting the highest subscriber counts it’s had in the last seven years, and revenue for the series has crossed the $1 billion threshold thanks to the 260 million people who have signed up so far.
For British developer Jagex, that means revenue of £84.9 million for the most recent fiscal year, up 14.2% compared to the previous period. Profit is up a whopping 51% to £43.5 million, which makes it the biggest year since the studio started in 2000.
“2017’s growth,” CEO Phil Mansell tells GamesIndusty.biz, “came from focusing on nurturing our RuneScape communities and finding innovations that keep long-established games fresh and exciting for all types of players.”
In more concrete terms, Mansell says the company has focused on community engagement to keep existing players in the game and lapsed players coming back. “For example, in 2017 we stepped up our investment in livestreaming and esports, with the RuneScape franchise becoming a top 15 ‘most popular’ title on Twitch and players streaming 16 million minutes of content.”
There are also the effects of RuneScape mobile to consider, and Jagex is using all this success to continue growing. Mansell says the company’s “three strategies” are “expanding the RuneScape universe, creating new living games, and third-party live game publishing.” We’ve already heard the idea that Jagex wants to be a publisher, and it seems the studio is poised to make that happen.
Nonetheless, Mansell says the company won’t be “cannibalising existing teams” for all this expansion, adding that RuneScape players can expect continued support for “the very long term.”