Jagex

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Jagex Limited (pronounced \ˈdʒæ.ɡɛks\[4]) is a British video game developer and publisher known for its MMORPG RuneScape.

Jagex ranked 59th on the Sunday Times' 100 Best Companies in the UK to Work For list in 2007.[5] In 2008, they were ranked 87th.[6]

History

Members of Jagex staff after a paintball game in April 2003.[7]

The name Jagex Software has been in use since at least 1999 and was originally described as a "small software company based in England [who] specialise in producing top-quality Java-games for webpages".[8] Andrew Gower tweeted on the RuneFest Twitter that the original Jagex office was "two meters by three meters with a table and PC we had borrowed".[9] In 1999, Jagex created a game called DeviousMUD, now called RuneScape, which was never available to the public.

To form Jagex, Andrew Gower, Paul Gower, and Constant Tedder bought a shelf company named Meaujo (492) Limited, and they changed its name to Jagex Limited on 27 June 2000.[1] Jagex was made to operate its then in-development MMORPG RuneScape, which they had been working on since 1999. Only a year after the game's release, it already had over one million free accounts registered. The company began exploring monetization of the game in the form a monthly fee, and the development of partnerships with advertisers, eventually launching a subscription version of the game on 27 February 2002. There was 5,000 subscriptions in the first week of doing so, making RuneScape one of the largest Java pay-to-play games in the world.

Jagex received an investment from Insight Venture Partners in October 2005.[10] The company had been self-funded before this investment. In 2006, On 4 May 2007, Jagex announced that RuneScape had reached over 9 million free players and 1 million subscribers.[11] In Sunday Times' Rich List in 2007, Andrew and Paul Gower were said to be worth £106 million.[12]

In 2009, Jagex confirmed that it would be releasing a new game called MechScape.[13]. It was announced at E3 2008 as a futuristic sci-fi MMORPG.[14] However, in August 2009, they confirmed that the game had been cancelled. It was later revived as Stellar Dawn, until development on it paused on 2 March 2012 to focus on other projects.

The Jagex APC in front of the new Jagex office
The Quality Assurance department in the new Jagex headquarters office, 2012.

In December 2011, Jagex finished preparation of a full move to a consolidated HQ in Cambridge's Science Park. The building was more than double the size of their old office. In 2012, Jagex opened a small office in California, with former Rockstar Games developers staffing it. Jagex also acted as the publisher of an online flash-based game called War of Legends, which was a multiplayer real time strategy game. It shut down on 29 January 2015. By the end of 2013, Jagex had over 500 staff members across multiple departments. Since 2014, staff numbers have declined.

In mid-2016, Jagex was acquired by Fukong Interactive Entertainment for $300 million.[15][16][17]

On 2 April 2019, Jagex's Neil McClarty (VP, Growth and Product Services) and Kelvin Plomer (Director of Player Experience) appeared before the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee to give evidence in an inquiry into "Immersive and addictive technologies".[18][19]

On 28 April 2020, it was announced that Jagex was acquired by Macarthur Fortune Holding LLC, a global asset management company, for $530 million.[20][21][22]

On 25 January 2021, Jagex announced that it was being acquired by the Carlyle Group.[23]

Operation

They maintain about 140 servers for RuneScape in various locations in United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States. Some of the more recent additions to the servers include the addition of the German, French and Portuguese servers. These are currently the only servers for non-English versions of the game thus far, but Jagex has confirmed that more languages are planned. [24]

Projects

Active

Carnage Racing

In 2012, Jagex announced that they had opened a small office in California, consisting of former developers from Rockstar Games. This studio is currently working on a Facebook game called "Carnage Racing", which attempts to bring console-style graphics to Facebook. It is developed using the Unity game engine, and is now available on Facebook.

Block N Load

Block N Load is another sandbox-style first-person shooter made and published by Jagex. Released on 30 April 2015, it had a free weekend period from 30 April 2015 to 3 May 2015. Players who played it during that period were given the Cogwheel outfit via a redeemable code through the Billing Centre. It has since become free-to-play, with microtransactions backing it up.

Unannounced MMO

Jagex has been working on a new yet to be announced MMO which is also refered to as Next Gen. Not much is known besides the fact that they are hiring people to work on it[25] as well as some employees being moved to that game like Mod Ollie, Mod Wulver, and Mod Deg.

Unknown

Whilst owned by Fukong Interactive Entertainment, Jagex pursued a number of RuneScape IP titles. It is not known whether any of these are actively in development. All of which were planned to be released in China as mobile games, or with later mobile iterations.

At ChinaJoy 2017, attendees were able to play RuneScape Chronicle, RuneScape Heroes, and another unreleased Jagex game, DawnFire, the latter of which was a VR FPS game. Jagex and Fukong also sold RuneScape Heroes themed merch, including Ariane and Princess Astrid themed body pillows.

In one, of many, publicly available Fukong Interactive documents states:

From 2018 to 2019, Jagex’s existing IP RuneScape Chronicles and RuneScape Heroes, two mobile games, will be developed and published by Chinese partners, while Jagex will be responsible for asset design and other supports. Jagex has signed a licensing agreement for these two IPs with a Chinese partner, obtaining 12% of the total game turnover
— Fukong

[26]

RuneScape Heroes (2018) (卢恩之域·英雄)

The new card sandbox RPG mobile game RuneScape Heroes, based on RuneScape, will debut. The game will reinterpret RuneScape as a card collection and an innovative sandbox world exploration game. Players will act as guardians of a vast continent known as Gielinor, recruit heroes, explore the sandbox world, collect rare materials, forge godly weapons, and overcome obstacles along the way to save the war-torn Gielinor, and bring it back to life. [27]

RuneScape Heroes

RuneScape Dissidia (2018) (卢恩之域·纷争)

RuneScape: Dissdia, cooperated with powerful domestic developers to develop, is a RuneScape IP made specifically for European and American markets. RuneScape: Dissidia is regarded as an innovative product of the RuneScape game series. Not only does it inherit the rich RuneScape game mechanics and lore, but it is also RuneScape's historic leap from the web to the mobile terminal. Based on the varied sandbox gameplay, a new gameplay is derived from the combination of exploration and rivalry. This co-developed product, which is aimed at Europe and the United States, combines the grand lore, the set priorities of RuneScape and the concept of Chinese game development, especially the mature MMORPG game development, has full potential for a masterpiece. In the West, where there is a lack of good MMO mobile games, the emergence of RuneScape: Dissidia is bound to bring extraordinary market effects. [28]

RuneScape Chronicle (2018) (卢恩之域·编年史)

Chronicle used to be a trading card battle game based on the RuneScape IP. It has received wide attention from players in Europe and in the United States. Nowadays, Fukong Interactive aims at the popular and growing domestic e- sports market. It has reshaped and reorganised Chronicle's highly acclaimed original gameplay, creating a new and unique casual adventure gameplay. With a wealth of mobile game development experience and production capabilities, Chronicle will create a new ground in the TCG and e-sports market. [29]

RuneScape Dungeon (2018)

RuneScape Next Gen (2019)

This project is the new product of Jagex's next 15-year long term development. RS NEXT GEN was built on Impropable's breakthrough innovation of the new Spatial OS technology, to achieve dynamic world synchronous transformation overlay and narrative. This technology can allow hundreds of game engines to be assembled and run on the cloud server at the same time to cooperate with each other, to simulate a larger, richer, and more populated game world. RS NEXT GEN is based on the experience accumulated in the 16-year operation process of the RuneScape game series. It uses a brand new user interface and easy-to-understand gameplay, which is set to meet the needs of modern players of MMORPG games. The game also uses a dynamic task system, in which players can freely choose how they want to complete the mission objectives. It is expected that Jagex's partners in many countries and regions will launch the game, thanks to the technological innovation of RS NEXT GEN and the global distribution plan. We expect the game to get better profits. [30]

Defunct

  • Vertigo (A new version Entitled Vertigo 2 has been released on FunOrb)
  • Flea Circus (The original version has been taken off the Jagex site and has been replaced with a new version on FunOrb.)
  • Tetralink (Can be found on the FunOrb site as a newer version.)
  • Cyberwars
  • Warships
  • Checkers (Re-Formatted to Draughts in the Burthorpe Games Room.)
  • Chess (A multiplayer version of the game can now be found on FunOrb.)
  • Reversi (Re-formatted to Runeversi in the Burthorpe Games Room.)
  • Go-mad
  • SlimeWar or Ataxtix (Renamed to ViroGrid, can be found on FunOrb.)
  • Monkey Puzzle (Renamed to Monkey Puzzle 2, can be found on FunOrb.)
  • The Bottomless Pit was an old animation by Jagex that was listed as a game... It was a never ending animation. It would display a series of messages, each with a delay of around 5 seconds at the bottom of the screen while an animation of falling into endless darkness was shown, and then the messages would start over once they were all displayed. There was also a seamlessly looping sound of a falling noise. The Bottomless Pit is no longer available on the Jagex website. If you would watch The Bottomless Pit for long enough, you would discover that it actually tells you cheat codes for various classic Jagex games, but those who would use the cheat codes would not have their scores saved to the high scores table.
  • Outpost 31
  • Gold Mine 2000
  • Meltdown (Dr. Phlogiston Saves the Earth is a possible remake of this game.)
  • Meteoroids (Stellar Shard is a possible remake of this game.)

FunOrb

FunOrb.
FunOrb logo.

In February 2008, Jagex announced that they would be releasing a casual browser-based gaming site called FunOrb within the month. FunOrb was released on 27 February 2008.[31] It uses the same account information as RuneScape, but requires a separate membership.

The site hosts small games varying in amount of possible playtime from an hour to two days. Some of the website and games are completely free-to-play, although members receive many other benefits, such as many Achievements, fullscreen mode for all games, and access to more features in nearly all games. Jagex offers a discount for those who are paying members of both RuneScape and FunOrb.

It was originally released with 18 games, the amount of games has increased to 43 over the time. However, since 16 September 2010, there wasn't a single update, besides bugfixes.[32]

The most popular game on the site is Arcanists. Jagex has used almost exclusively the popularity of RuneScape to gain patrons for this site, with almost all FunOrb players being either current or former RuneScape players due to very little advertising.

In January 2009, Jagex released a multiplayer game called Armies of Gielinor. This is the game that is set in the RuneScape universe they promised to release. You can summon beasts such as Black Knights, greater demons, aviansie, and other monsters from the RuneScape universe. It has become one of the most popular games on FunOrb.

On 23 January 2013, Mark Gerhard confirmed that he has plans for a full reboot and update of FunOrb in the long term. It will include a rework of the website, updates to current games, addition of new games, and creation of even more mobile games than before. Gerhard stated that the earliest they could do this would be in 2014, as 2013 is the year that they're focusing on RuneScape 3 and Transformers Universe.[source needed]

It was announced on 8 May 2018 that FunOrb would be shutting down on 7 August, with the ability to buy membership disabled. Account creation disabled on 14 May. 1-month memberships were given out to those who asked before the shutdown.[33]

MechScape and Stellar Dawn

The first official concept art For MechScape.

Rumoured during parts of 2007 and throughout 2008, MechScape is Jagex's new MMORPG, which was due for release in the first quarter of 2009.[34] However, the MechScape project has since been dropped.[35]

Sadly the game was not as complete as we wanted and we spent the first few months trying to “fix” the game where we could. About a month or so ago we took the decision to stop trying to “fix it” as we still wouldn’t have the game we wanted and the game certainly did not meet all the objectives and specifications established in the original game design document and therefore it would be better to go back to the founding principles and build the game we always wanted –Andrew is now overseeing the project and working very closely with the team to build Stellar Dawn, not all was lost as we naturally have developed the game engine substantially over the last few years and the new designs benefits massively from this as well as a ton of experience within the team as to what works and what doesn’t. So whilst the content and a lot of the game play will change from what was previously built almost everything else will go straight back into Stellar Dawn.[36]
Mark Gerhard, October 25, 2009

Building on the MechScape game engine, Jagex planned to release a new MMO, confirmed to be Stellar Dawn, in 2010.[35]

Previously, if one attempted to go to Stellardawn.com, they would be redirected to FunOrb.com.

On 14 July 2010, the Stellar Dawn website was put up.[37] On the website, users could sign up to be part of a closed beta. However, on 2 March 2012, the Stellar Dawn project was paused from further development.[38]

Transformers Universe

Jagex and Hasbro worked on a Transformers MMO, called Transformers Universe. It was in development for several years and the game was released into Open Beta in 2014. The game received much more mainstream coverage than any of Jagex's previous games, as it was part of a major entertainment franchise. However, the game was shut down on 31 January 2015, after being announced that the game would be closing. The cost incurred by the closing of Transformers Universe was £578,659 as noted on page 19 of Jagex's Group of companies' accounts in 2014 from Companies House.

Chronicle: RuneScape Legends

Chronicle: RuneScape Legends was a card game based on the characters of RuneScape. It was made available via closed beta on 25 November 2015 through codes obtained from email. It was put into Open Beta on 25 April 2016 and later available on Steam on 26 May 2016.

It was announced on 8 May 2018 that it would be shutdown on 6 August 2018, with the ability to purchase Platinum in-game or via the Chronicle website disabled.

DarkScape

A branch of the main game with only Legacy Mode enabled, it was based upon mostly the PvP aspects of the game. It was mostly free, with members gaining 50% more experience for all actions. It lasted from 16 September 2015 to 28 March 2016.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is a sandbox-style first-person shooter originally developed by former developers of Minecraft. The original developers decided to leave, and Jagex took over the remainder of the development. Its goal is to go against the cliches of most first-person shooters and create a unique experience. It has been in prototype phase for a year, and has already garnered more than one million players. It has been released and is available on Steam for a small, one-time fee.

As publishers

Entropy

A spaceshooter released as beta in 9 December 2013. It came with 3 early access packs called "Entropy Colonist", "Entropy Explorer" and "Entropy Founder" for €18.99, €36.99 and €92.99 respectively. It was removed from Steam on 30 November 2017 and servers were shut down in early 2018.

Herotopia

A now defunct flash-based game for kids released on 14 July 2010, it focuses on fighting bullies by bullying them.

War of Legends

A now defunct flash-based online strategy game released on 19 January 2010, it contained Jagex's first instance of microtransactions in games, and was eventually shut down on 29 January 2015 due to unresolved security issues.

Melvor Idle

A "feature-rich idle game" heavily inspired by the "setting, skills, combat and mechanics of RuneScape," indie developer Brandon Malcom's Melvor Idle became a published game under Jagex on 21 October 2021 while it was in Early Access. It was fully released nearly a month later on 18 November for $9.99 / £7.19 / €8.19 on the Steam platform as well as offering free-to-try mobile versions on iOS and Android. [39]

iOS games

Jagex has also released several games for iOS devices. They are:

  • Bouncedown
  • Miner Disturbance
  • StarCannon
  • Undercroft

Charity fundraising

Since 2004 Jagex has made donations to a number of national and international charities. It has also run charity auctions for signed merchandise. Jagex as an organisation raises appropriately £7,000 each year.[40]

In 2008 they donated artwork and prizes to the MMOCalendar, which raises funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In 4 years (probably 2005-2008[source needed]), Jagex has donated money to charity, broken down as below.

  • Year ending 6 March - £106,000
  • Year ending 7 March - £157,000
  • Year ending 8 March - £147,000
  • Current year to date - £127,000

The charities that Jagex have donated to include:

  • Save the Children
  • CAFOD
  • Hamlin Churchill Childbirth Injuries Fund
  • Cancer Research
Members of Jagex staff that participated in Movember
  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign
  • Bury Bombers Wheelchair Basketball
  • SOS Children's Villages
  • East Anglican Children's Hospice (EACH) [41]

Jagex has also taken part in the Movember charity for men, and all revenue that comes from RuneFest is donated to charity.

Further Charity has been taken in the form of conversion of in-game wealth from players donations to money, from the Well of Goodwill , donated at $1 per 1 million.

YouTube channel

In early 2008, Jagex created their own YouTube channel, called "thejagexchannel", which was "The official YouTube channel for Jagex Ltd, producers of quality online games based on Java technology."[42]. However this channel is rarely used and the majority of Jagex's YouTube activity occurs on their RuneScape channel, under the name "RuneScape".[43]

Jagex also has a Twitter account called Jagex, alongside a presence on Twitter from many Jagex employees, and a Facebook page.

References

  1. ^ a b c JAGEX LIMITED - Overview. Companies House. (Archived from the original on 9 July 2020.)
  2. ^ Careers | Jagex. Jagex. (Archived from the original on 9 July 2020.)
  3. ^ Annual report and financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2018. Companies House. 7 June 2019. (Archived from the original on 9 July 2020.) "The Company employed 353 people by the end of 2018"
  4. ^ Video: RuneScape HD Details from Leipzig GC. Ten Ton Hammer. At 0:30, Geoff Iddison pronounces the name of the company.Lost reference*
  5. ^ The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For. Madgex, on behalf of Times Online. 2007. (Archived from the original on 2007-09-30.)
  6. ^ The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. Madgex, on behalf of Times Online. 2008. (Archived from the original on 2008-06-26.)
  7. ^ Bang! I win! Jagex team photo. Jagex Ltd.. 23 April 2003.*
  8. ^ Jagex Software. Jagex Ltd.. (Archived from the original on 29 November 1999.)
  9. ^ Jagex. RuneFest's Twitter account. 28 August 2010. (Archived from the original on 6 December 2016.)
  10. ^ Anant. RuneScape developers Jagex Ltd. Secure investment from Insight Venture Partners. GamingBlog. 2005-10-28. (Archived from the original on 2005-11-03.)
  11. ^ RuneScape reaches one million members!. Jagex Ltd.*
  12. ^ Rich List 2006. Sunday Times Online.*
  13. ^ Zenke, Michael. E308: Jagex teases sci-fi successor to RuneScape, Mechscape. Massively. 2008-07-15.*
  14. ^ What Do We Know About Mechscape?. Zybez. 2008-08-08.*
  15. ^ Mod Balance. "Jagex Investment & Aquisition." 14 July 2016. General Forums.
  16. ^ Jamie Quested. Investment bonanza triggered as Jagex goes to Chinese in $300m deal. Business Weekly. 14 July 2016.*
  17. ^ Wesley Yin-Poole. Runescape maker Jagex bought by Chinese investors. Eurogamer.net. 14 July 2016.*
  18. ^ UK Parliament. Parliamentlive.tv - Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. 2 April 2019.*
  19. ^ House of Commons. Oral evidence: Immersive and Addictive Technologies, HC 1846. 2 April 2019. (Archived from the original on 6 April 2019.)
  20. ^ Company Announcement. Jagex Ltd..*
  21. ^ Tom Ivan. RuneScape maker Jagex acquired for $530 million. VGC. 28 April 2020.*
  22. ^ Tom Ivan. Jagex sold for $530m. GamesIndustry.biz. 28 April 2020.*
  23. ^ Jagex. The Carlyle Group Acquires Jagex. (Archived from the original on 9 June 2021.)
  24. ^ RuneScape France. RuneScape News List. Jagex Ltd. "Bonjour! We’re pleased to announce that we have just released the RuneScape game and website in its third language: French. ... More languages are planned for RuneScape in the future, so keep an eye out for further updates."*
  25. ^ Jagex hiring people for unannounced MMO.*
  26. ^ [http://pg.jrj.com.cn/acc/Res/CN_RES/STOCK/2017/7/18/b434fa53-4b8c-4c8d-b68c-57bcf6abea4f.pdf 老树焕新芽,英国顶级老牌游戏厂商 Jagex 联 姻中国资本,借电子竞技和手游化迸发发展火花 ——富控互动(600634)深度报告]. 2017 年 07 月 18 日. "2018 年-2019 年,Jagex 现有 IP《RuneScape Chronicles》和《RuneScape Heroes》两款手机游戏将由中国合作方开发和发行,Jagex 负责素材设计等支 持。Jagex 已与中国合作方签订了该两款 IP 的授权协议,获得游戏总流水 12% 的分成。"*
  27. ^ 卢恩之域·英雄Runescape: Heros. 2017-07-10 15:49:17.*
  28. ^ 卢恩之域·纷争Runescape: Dissdia. 2017-07-16 11:11:00.*
  29. ^ 卢恩之域·编年史chronicle. 2017-07-16 11:12:00.*
  30. ^ [http://pg.jrj.com.cn/acc/Res/CN_RES/STOCK/2017/7/18/b434fa53-4b8c-4c8d-b68c-57bcf6abea4f.pdf 老树焕新芽,英国顶级老牌游戏厂商 Jagex 联 姻中国资本,借电子竞技和手游化迸发发展火花 ——富控互动(600634)深度报告]. 2017 年 07 月 18 日. "该项目则是承载 Jagex 公司下一个 15 年长期发展的新产品。《RS NEXT GEN》建立在“Improbable”公司突破性创 新的 Spatial OS 技术之上,能够实现动态世界同步转换叠加和叙事;该技术可 以集合数以百计的游戏引擎,在云服务器中同时运行相互协作,模拟更大更丰富 和更多玩家的游戏世界。《RS NEXT GEN》攫取了《RuneScape》系列游戏在 16 年的运营过程中所积淀的精华,采用全新的画面设计以及易于上手的游戏玩 法设置,迎合现代游戏玩家对于 MMORPG 游戏的需求。该游戏采用动态任务 系统,玩家可以自由选择如何完成任务目标。预计 Jagex 将通过全球各地的合 作伙伴在多个国家和地区推出该款游戏。由于《RS NEXT GEN》技术上的革新 和全球化的发行规划,我们预计该款游戏将获得较好的收益。"*
  31. ^ Mod Korpz. Welcome to FunOrb.. Announcement, FunOrb Forums. Jagex Ltd. 2008-02-27. (Archived from the original on 2008-03-02.)
  32. ^ News List, FunOrb. (Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.)
  33. ^ Mod Shauny. FunOrb Sunsetting. Announcement, FunOrb Forums. Jagex Ltd. (Archived from the original on 2018-05-09.)
  34. ^ Confirmed by Jagex at the 2008 E3 Gaming Convention.
  35. ^ a b https://web.archive.org/web/20091101202611/http://www.casualgaming.biz/news/29415/Jagex-scraps-MechScape
  36. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20091027233650/http://www.mechscapeworld.com/2009/10/25/mark-gerhards-qa-with-mechscape-world/
  37. ^ Jagex. StellarDawn's Twitter account. 14 July 2010. (Archived from the original on 6 July 2020.) StellarDawn: "The Stellar Dawn #mmorpg website has now been launched at http://www.stellardawn.com"
  38. ^ Mod MMG. Pausing Stellar Dawn. 2012-03-02. (Archived from the original on 2012-06-03.)
  39. ^ Jagex announces partnership to publish Melvor Idle. Jagex. 21 October 2021. (Archived from the original on 5 December 2021.)
  40. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120322233536/http://www.jagex.com/careers/jagex/giving
  41. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090217222440/http://jagex.com:80/corporate/Giving_Back/charities.ws Published several years ago
  42. ^ "The Jagex Channel", YouTube.com
  43. ^ "Runescape", Youtube.com

External links