Jagex CEO Phil Mansell spoke to GamesIndustry.biz this week to talk about his company’s recent acquisition by The Carlyle Group and what it means for RuneScape and other potential Jagex products going forward.
Jagex has grown steadily over the last half-decade — “roughly double the size as a company in terms of revenue and community from four or five years ago,” Mansell said. Despite the shifting ownership situation (which may not yet be fully resolved), Mansell has been able to keep the business side of things “away from the people that really mattered,” i.e., the developers.
Mansell called the Carlyle acquisition a “growth-orientated investment” that will allow Jagex to “be bolder and more ambitious than in the past.” He said that Jagex now has the “speed and confidence” to pursue new opportunities. “We have a lot of cash resources, so it was never really about our spending power; it was about our confidence and how fast we wanted to chase those opportunities, and we can really lean into them now.” He has plans to expand the core RuneScape experience to more platforms and countries, and grow the IP in general through different means.
He touched upon one of those attempts, which didn’t fare so well: Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, which came and went in about two years. That game “ran at a time when we honestly didn’t have sufficient bandwidth to do that justice,” Mansell said. He called the game a “side project,” but now, with 200 more staffers, he’s confident that Jagex could “invest properly and do game ideas real justice in a way that we haven’t been able to in the past.”
In the end, it seems like Mansell wants RuneScape to be considered a more mainstream kind of hit. Big as it is, it often gets forgotten when talking about crossover mega-hits like World of Warcraft or Fortnite. “By revenue and players, we’re not that far off, but we’d like to build out our portfolio of games so it’s really clear that we’ve got a potent universe we continue to build for many more decades to come.”