|Founded||December 2001(used as a trading name since 1999)|
|Founder(s)||Andrew Gower, Ian Gower, Paul Gower, Constant Tedder|
|Headquarters||St John's Innovation Centre, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom|
|Operating income||£10,658,000 (2011)|
Jagex Games Studio, based in the St John's Innovation Centre in Cambridge and usually referred to as Jagex, is the UK’s largest independent developer and publisher of online games. It is best known for RuneScape, the world's largest free-to-play MMORPG. The company's name comes from its original slogan, "Java Gaming Experts".
- 1 Corporate history
- 2 Release history
- 3 Games in development
- 4 Reception
- 5 References
- 6 External links
||This section may have too many subsection headers dividing up its content. (August 2012)|
After initially creating the Jagex name and logo for their projects Andrew Gower and Paul Gower began trading under the Jagex name in 1999, describing Jagex Software as a "small software company based in England who specialise in producing top-quality Java-games for webpages." That same year they began work on the MMORPG RuneScape, which was released in January 2001. In December 2001, Andrew Gower, Paul Gower, and Constant Tedder launched Jagex in its current incarnation, with Tedder as its CEO. Jagex Ltd formally acquired the Jagex name from Andrew Gower in 2001.
RuneScape grew dramatically; one year after its release over a million free accounts had been registered. The game was originally supported by advertisements, however, the Dot-com bubble meant that there were fewer advertisers willing or able to sign with Jagex. One of the first tasks of the new company was to create a paid version of the game with extra features, to support hosting costs and continued development. This was achieved on 27 February 2002 when the pay-to-play version of RuneScape was released. It gained 5,000 subscribers in the first week, making it one of the largest Java pay-to-play games in the world at the time.
Until the release of War of Legends in 2010, the company used the slogan "Java Gaming Experts" as it had only produced games written in Java up to that point. Following the launch of the Flash-based War of Legends, the company name was said to stand for "Just About the Game Experience".[better source needed]
As RuneScape gained users, Jagex grew its employee base. By 11 December 2003, RuneScape had 65,000 paying members, and Jagex had 29 employees. On 4 May 2007, RuneScape had over 6,000,000 active free accounts and over 1,000,000 active pay-to-play subscribers. In January 2011, Jagex had over 450 employees.
Investors and management
On 23 October 2007, Geoff Iddison, former European CEO of PayPal, replaced Constant Tedder as CEO in order to "accelerate international growth." Iddison resigned as CEO in January 2009, and was replaced by Mark Gerhard, who had been Jagex CTO before his appointment.
Jagex received an investment from Insight Venture Partners in October 2005, before which the company had been self-funded. In December 2010 The Raine Group and Spectrum Equity Investors invested in Jagex, while Insight increased their investment. Andrew Gower, Paul Gower and Constant Tedder left the board of directors at that time. In January 2012, Insight increased its stake in Jagex from 35% to 55%, giving it a controlling interest in the company. However, in an interview, Gerhard stated that Insight took their 55% stake 13 months prior in December 2010.
In 2010 the company turned over revenues of £44,520,000 and operating profits of £18,794,000. In 2011 revenue increased by 2% to £45,345,000, but profit decreased by 43% to £10,658,000. This was attributed to "increased investment in the new games [ War of Legends ] as well as the marketing activities that were accelerated during the financial year." In 2012 Jagex's turnover rose above £50 million for the first time in the company's history.
Publishing and acquisitions
On 10 May 2011, Jagex announced that it had formed a partnership with New York-based media company Herotainment to publish Herotopia, a superhero-themed MMORPG targeted towards children. The game was published on 25 May 2011.
Membership and industry organisations
Jagex became a member of TIGA, the United Kingdom's game developer trade body, on 15 April 2009. Richard Wilson, TIGA's CEO, described Jagex as "one of the most successful game developers in the world, not just the UK. Jagex has developed extraordinarily popular games and is at the leading edge in terms of online safety and security."
Jagex has also collaborated with iCould, a career development organisation project, and several members of staff have appeared in videos on their website.
Exhibitions and conferences
In 2008 Jagex began attending a number of gaming conventions and exhibitions, both to show off its products and to give keynote speeches. Events it was present at included E3, the Leipzig Games Convention, and the Virtual Worlds Forum.
Awards and accomplishments
In 2009 Jagex was ranked as the 29th "Most Successful Game Studio in the World" by Develop magazine. It also won the "Best Desktop Game Project" award at the Duke's Choice Awards, the Golden Joystick award for "Best UK Developer", and was listed in the Deloitte Awards "Technology Fast 50". The company also gained its first Best Company "One to watch" award, which it also achieved in 2010 and 2011.
In 2010 the company received the Golden Joystick award for "Best UK Developer" for a second year. It also won "Business of the Year" in the Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards, the "Private Company of the Year" award at the East of England Business Awards, and was listed in the Deloitte Awards "Technology Fast 50" for a second year. The company was listed in the Red Herring: Global 100 Winners for the first time this year.
In November 2012 Jagex won the "best major employer" award at the National Online Recruitment Awards after being chosen from over 164,000 nominations.
Charity fund raising
Since 2004 Jagex has made donations to a number of national and international charities, as well as running charity auctions for signed merchandise. In 2008 they donated artwork and prizes to the MMOCalendar, which raises funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
In 2011, Jagex donated a total of £150,076 to a number of local and US-based charities.
In 2013, Jagex introduced the "Well of Goodwill" to RuneScape, which allowed players to gift in-game items or wealth to charity. The Well of Goodwill also featured a hi-scores page for the players who donated. For every 10 million gold pieces gifted by the community, Jagex donated $2 to a number of charitable causes.
RuneScape is a fantasy MMORPG released in January 2001 by Andrew and Paul Gower. It is a graphical browser game implemented on the client-side in Java, and incorporates 3D rendering. The game has over 200 million registered accounts, and is recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world's most popular free-to-play MMORPG.
RuneScape takes place in the world of Gielinor, a medieval fantasy realm divided into different kingdoms, regions, and cities. Each region offers different types of monsters, resources, and quests to challenge players. The game's fictional universe has also been explored through a tie-in video game on its maker's other website, FunOrb, Armies of Gielinor, and the novels Betrayal at Falador, Return to Canifis and Legacy of Blood.
Players are represented in the game with customisable avatars. RuneScape does not follow a linear storyline; rather, players set their own goals and objectives. Players can choose to fight non-player character (NPC) monsters, complete quests, or increase their experience in the available skills. Players interact with each other through trading, chatting, or by participating in mini-games and activities, some of which are competitive or combative in nature, while others require cooperative or collaborative play.
FunOrb is a casual gaming site created by Jagex. Launched on 27 February 2008, it was the company's first major release after RuneScape. All of the games are programmed in Java.
The site is mainly targeted towards the "hard casual," "deep casual" or "time-pressured" gamer market.
8Realms was an HTML-based empire-building massively multiplayer online strategy game developed by Jagex. It was the company's first internally developed MMORTS, and second published MMORTS after War of Legends.
The 8Realms closed beta was released on 5 May 2011; players were given advanced access to the closed beta by invitation and through the game's Facebook page. On 28 May 2012 Jagex announced they were closing the game, stating that "it has become clear that the game doesn’t meet our high expectations for success."
War of Legends
War of Legends is an MMORTS set in a world of ancient Chinese mythology which was released on 19 January 2010. It was Jagex's first MMORTS, the company's first externally developed game, the first game published by Jagex not to be written in Java, and the company's first microtransactional game.
On 10 May 2011 Jagex announced that it was working with the New York based children's media company Herotainment to publish a new browser-based game called Herotopia, which was released on 25 May. According to Jagex the game will be a "virtual world which provides kids with a fun and enjoyable experience they can make their own."
Ace of Spades
Jagex released its first mobile game, Bouncedown, for the iPhone and iPod touch on 3 December 2009, followed by StarCannon on 15 April 2010, Miner Disturbance on 8 June 2010, and Undercroft on 23 September 2010.
Games in development
Stellar Dawn is an upcoming browser-based sci-fi themed MMORPG under development by Jagex. Originally known as MechScape, the project was scrapped and renamed after it was decided that the completed project did not meet the standards of the original design brief. The project was overhauled and formally announced as Stellar Dawn on 14 July 2010 when Jagex released the official Stellar Dawn website. On 10 August 2010 the first official Stellar Dawn teaser was released. The game was slated for a 2011 launch, but in March 2012 Jagex announced that development had been paused in favour of Transformers Universe and RuneScape.
On 14 March 2011 Jagex announced a partnership with Hasbro to create a Transfomers Universe MMO based on the Transformers intellectual property that was due to launch in North America, Latin America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia in 2013.
In a March 2010 interview, Mark Gerhard was asked why Jagex have not released games to consoles. He replied, "The console manufacturers are the problem...the reason why we don't have anything on the market is because all three [Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony] are scared of the free-to-play model and that they are very protective over opening up their platforms...we're not going to segment off the 360 community from the PS3 or Wii etc. They've all said that they are fine to interact with a PC, but not another competing console and for us that's just not going to work...we've done everything necessary to be there when they change their mind and we'll be the first to take advantage by offering consoles as an additional choice for our community. However having players pay for just being able to use their console for the service is just unimaginable, it's wrong."
In its 2008 profile of RuneScape's IP, Develop concluded that: "In addition to being one of the most profitable, Jagex is also the UK’s largest independent developer by staff level, and one of the biggest employers. Its commercial model should make it a poster boy for the disintermediation of publishers and the ‘direct to consumer’ distribution channel in which so many developers place their hopes."
In the past Jagex had been accused of marketing RuneScape towards young children, despite having a 13+ age requirement. The age requirement has since been removed, allowing players under 13 in the game but only allowing them to communicate through a chat system known as Quick Chat; a database of preset sentences. Players may request removal from the Quick Chat system by providing proof of parental consent.
Gerhard has stated that he wishes to change the perception of RuneScape as a children's game, stating that "the real average age is 16. And there's this perception that there's 8 year old boys playing the game and it's mad."
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