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Jagex confirms record revenues driven by RuneScape and pledges investment and new games

Jagex has announced record revenues of £110.9million for 2019, when it recorded its fifth successive year of growth.

The Cambridge games studio’s ongoing success was driven by all-time peak membership for its RuneScape titles.

Phil Mansell, CEO of Jagex. Picture: Keith Heppell
Phil Mansell, CEO of Jagex. Picture: Keith Heppell

Players’ appetite for the franchise, which is now in its 20th year, shows no sign of slowing down, helping Jagex to grow staff numbers by 40 to 377 at its Cambridge Science Park HQ by the end of 2019.

Most impressive of all, though, was its year-on-year performance, with revenues up 19.4 per cent - a faster growth rate than the previous 12 months.

Operating profit, meanwhile, grew to just over £48.9million, up 4.5 per cent.

The figures will be welcomed by the company’s new owner - Macarthur Fortune Holding LLC, which purchased the studio for $530million from Shanghai Hongtou Network Technology, part of Chinese games firm Fukong Interactive Entertainment, in April.

Phil Mansell, Jagex CEO, said: “Jagex continues its journey of growth and investment and 2019 was an extraordinary year as we welcomed more players to our living games of RuneScape and Old School RuneScape than ever before, taking the company over the £100m-plus revenue mark for the first time in our history.

“Attracting more players and, importantly, keeping our loyal gaming communities excited and engaged for the long-term speaks to the success of our living games ethos. This is the bedrock of our strategy and it is built on putting players first. In turn, this has attracted world-class talent to further bolster the amazing Jagex team and fuel further success.”

A Runescape screenshot
A Runescape screenshot

The company’s subscriber base soared by almost half a million in 2019, with membership of RuneScape, the world’s largest massively multiplayer online role-playing game, now at a record high.

Jagex converted Old School RuneScape to mobile platforms last year, winning a BAFTA for EE Mobile Game of the Year and Best Mobile Game at the Develop Stars Awards. The game achieved its highest ever daily active players during 2019.

It also offered early access to RuneScape Mobile and the game, which has attracted 280 million player accounts, passed £1billion in lifetime revenue during the year - feats that earned it Games Company of the Year at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards.

This year, it will face broader competition in the awards, with the category expanded to include software companies.

Jagex also raised £261,692 for charity and won both the Charity Times Corporate Community Local Involvement award and the Gamesindustry.biz Best Places to Work CSR award.

Phil added: “Following record levels of investment in 2019, we continue to invest in improving the player experience and bringing the RuneScape universe to more players globally.

Old School Runescape on mobile
Old School Runescape on mobile

“Jagex is extremely robust and I’m excited about our prospects as, especially in these difficult times presented by the pandemic, we continue to connect and inspire players as we head towards the 20th anniversary of RuneScape in January 2021.”

The company switched game development, publishing and live operations teams to remote working once the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

It also announced a string of additional player-focused initiatives amid the crisis, and with RuneScape and Old School RuneScape players helped to raised and donate £204,000 to support the work of its mental health charity partners through the pandemic.

“We continue to enhance our live games services and seek to expand their availability to more potential players across more devices, distribution platforms and regions as we transition to a multi-product and multi-platform studio,” added Phil.

Jagex wins Games Company of the Year at the 2019 Cambridge Independent Science & Technology Awards. Picture: Richard Marsham
Jagex wins Games Company of the Year at the 2019 Cambridge Independent Science & Technology Awards. Picture: Richard Marsham

“We are also increasing investments in further growth, which will include our talent base, technology, new games, pursuing publishing opportunities and forging strong partnerships with like-minded companies.

“It’s an immense privilege to work alongside the talented people at Jagex, whose hard work and dedication, alongside our fantastic players, is the backbone of the company’s success.”

Entry to the Games or Software Company of the Year category in the 2020 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards is open now.

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