UPDATE: Thanks to commentor Grimsbane for tipping us off to the message from Jagex that the sale to Shangdong Hongda is not yet finalized, but is “in early stage discussions.” Here’s the statement from Jagex:
As you may have seen through online news articles, Jagex is getting noticed. The company is getting attention from the east and the biggest market in the world, China, is knocking on our door. Jagex’s shareholders have received offers of interest and have responded positively to an approach from a Chinese company.
Jagex is in early stage discussions with the firm in question, but we must stress that they may – or may not – materialise into anything. However, should they come to fruition, it would potentially allow us access to the Asian marketplace to a high level.
What does this mean for the plans we have for our games and our fantastic community? Put simply, our plans, including the launch of NXT, Zeah, Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, God Wars Dungeon 2, and RuneScape: Idle Adventures, remain on track. It is business as usual across Gielinor!
ORIGINAL: There are microtransactions, and then there are macrotransactions. $3 might buy you a cool hat in a game like RuneScape. Tack on eight more zeroes, and you can just buy RuneScape.
That’s what Chinese Shangdong Hongda Mining Company did, purchasing RuneScape, along with the rest of UK-based Jagex, for a cool $300 million. Shangdong is described by The Financial Times as “at the mercy of forces beyond its control,” along with many Chinese companies that “are weighed down by overcapacity and debts and turning to new areas” and looking for safer investments abroad.
Assuming Jagex is still turning a profit — and there’s no reason to suggest it isn’t — this might simply be a case of a company trying to get a little steady positive cash flow to offset debts. In all likelihood, business at Jagex will continue as usual. I don’t think it’s a reason for Jagex’s fans to panic, though it’s always a little scary when someone else at your favorite game company is suddenly calling the shots.