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Jagex Games Studio (or Jagex Ltd./Jagex Software/JaGeX) is a producer of online computer games based in Cambridge, UK. It is best known for the two versions of its RuneScape MMO, as well as for producing the FunOrb games site. Jagex have also published the MMORTS, War of Legends. Jagex has over 350 employees,[4] with all content development, management, and customer support provided 'in house'.

Up until the release of War of Legends, Jagex produced games exclusively written using the Java language. Its name originally stood for "Java Gaming Experts", but was changed to "Just About the Game Experience" with the release of War of Legends; as Jagex no longer dealt exclusively with Java, the original tagline was rendered defunct.[5][6] It has received a number of awards for its achievements, and is one of the highest profile developers in the UK.

History

After initially creating the Jagex name and logo for their projects Andrew Gower and Paul Gower began trading under the Jagex name in 1999,[7] describing Jagex Software as a "small software company based in England who specialise in producing top-quality Java-games for webpages".[8] That same year, he began work on the MMORPG RuneScape alongside his brother Paul Gower, 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.[9] Jagex Ltd formally acquired the Jagex name from Andrew Gower in 2001.

File:Jagex original logo.png

One year after its release, RuneScape already had over one million free accounts registered. The first tasks of the company were to create a version of the game with extra features that required a monthly fee, while still offering the free version, and to develop partnerships with advertisers. Both tasks were achieved, and the pay-to-play version of RuneScape was released on 27 February 2002. It gained 5,000 subscriptions in the first week,[9] making RuneScape one of the largest Java pay-to-play games in the world.

As RuneScape's popularity grew, so did Jagex. By 11 December 2003, RuneScape had 65,000 paying members, and Jagex had 29 employees.[10] Template:Asof, RuneScape has over 6,000,000 active free accounts and over 1,000,000 active pay-to-play subscribers,[11] and Jagex currently has over 350 employees.[4] In 2006, Andrew and Paul Gower were calculated to be worth £32 million. Jagex received an investment from Insight Venture Partners in October 2005.[12] The company had been self-funded before this investment.

On 23 October 2007, Geoff Iddison, former European CEO of PayPal, replaced Constant Tedder as CEO in order to "accelerate international growth".[13] Since Iddison was appointed, Jagex has appeared in the press far more frequently than it had under Tedder.[citation needed]

On 27 February 2008, Jagex released FunOrb, an online mini-games portal, with 18 launch games. Like RuneScape, FunOrb's games are written in Java and can be played from a browser.[14]

On 25 July 2008, Jagex released its first novel - RuneScape: Betrayal at Falador,[15] written by TS Church. To promote its release 10 of the pre-ordered copies were signed by TS Church, Andrew Gower, Paul Gower, former Jagex CEO Geoff Iddison and the cover artist. The book was published by Babel Interactive Ltd of Worcestershire.

Iddison resigned as CEO in January 2009, and was replaced by Mark Gerhard, who had been the Chief Technical Officer for Jagex before his appointment.[16]

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."[17]

In 2010 the Jagex Publishing division was launched with the release of War of Legends. The company has stated that is has "ambitious plans to release multiple titles from third-party developers",[18] although no other titles have yet been announced.

On 14 July 2010, Jagex announced their second MMORPG "Stellar Dawn" (third MMO in total) & revealed the official website. Closed Beta applications were also included in the launch of the website.

On 26 July 2010, Jagex bought the well known game, Planetarion, from Renegade Games who had bought the rights in February 2009[19]

Future development

In 2010 Jagex CEO Mark gehard stated that RuneScape "will be the main investment focus for Jagex for the next five years".[20] Jagex has registered UK trademarks and various related domain names for the term "MechScape".[21] Jagex's Head of MechScape, Henrique Olifiers, announced at the 2008 E3 Media and Business Summit that MechScape was a new MMO that Jagex were working on, expected in the first quarter of 2009. He claimed it would be browser-based like RuneScape, but would be one or two steps beyond RuneScape HD's level of technology. It would have a science fiction theme and be aimed at an older audience.[22] In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Iddison stated that Jagex have "got a very, very big investment into another MMO" and that it is expected to be released "early next year, Q1 2009" - when asked if it was the MechScape brand, he replied "I can't say too much more, I'm afraid".[23] On 18 June Iddison announced at the GameHorizon conference that Jagex had "a brand new MMO due for launch in March 2009", although more recent statements places the estimated release as "Spring 2009".[24]

As well as working on completely new projects, Jagex continues to develop its existing services. In relation to FunOrb, Jagex continues to release new games and intends to expand into the mobile phone games market.[25] In relation to RuneScape, Jagex continues to release new game content and has released versions of RuneScape in French,[26] German,[27] and Brazilian Portuguese.[28] Jagex have also spoken of plans for a third MMORPG in 2010 which might use micro-payments.[29]

Mark Gerhard, the current CEO of Jagex, has also spoken of plans for Jagex to expand its products to games consoles, stating that "we have working proof of concepts on some of our products...the challenge for us was if we could write a software package that would take our code and output it to a C# version for the 360, Wii and PS3...we discovered that the answer was yes, we can put our code on consoles."[30]

On 29 October 2009, Gerhard confirmed that MechScape had been cancelled prior to its release, describing the decision as costing "tens of millions of pounds." Much of the game, including its engine, is intended to be reused in another project currently in development,[31] Stellar Dawn.

In December 2009, Jagex obtained an Internet domain for War of Legends, a free RPG multiplayer strategy game intended for release in "early 2010". The game's website had an option for pre-registering, encouraging new players to sign up in hopes of winning a laptop giveaway.[32] The game was launched on 19 January 2010.

On 14 July 2010, Jagex Ltd launched the website for Stellar Dawn, an upcoming MMO which contains some concept art from the cancelled Mechscape. The site contains concept art and two preview videos (a teaser trailer and introduction video by Jagex's CEO) along with a Beta sign-up prior to the planned public release in 2011.[33]

Membership & industry organisations

Jagex is a member of TIGA[34] and of Games Eden.[35]

It is also a collaborator with iCould,[36] 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,[37] the Leipzig Games Convention,[38] and the Virtual Worlds Forum.[39]

At the 2008 Develop Conference they came 3rd in the Pub Quiz.[40]

Awards and accomplishments

2007

2008

2009

  • Ranked 29th "Most Successful Game Studio in the World" by Develop Mag[42]

2010

  • Winner of "Private Company of the Year" at the East of England Business Awards.[45]

Charity fund raising

Since 2004 Jagex has made donations to a number of national and international charities.[46] It has also run charity auctions for signed merchandise.[47]

In 2008 they donated artwork and prizes to the MMOCalendar,[48] which raises funds for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Reception

Overall Jagex is a well-received company, ranking 59th in 2007 and 87th in 2008 on the Sunday Times' 100 Best Companies to Work For list.[41]

In its 2008 intellectual property profile of RuneScape, 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".[49]

In the past Jagex had been accused of marketing RuneScape towards young children, despite having a 13+ age requirement.[50] However the age requirement has since been removed, allowing players under 13 in the game but only allowing them to chat with a chat system known as "Quick Chat", a database of preset sentences, unless given parental consent to do otherwise.[51] 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."[52]

References

  1. About Jagex. Jagex (2008). Retrieved on 2009-02-11.
  2. Geoff Iddison's public profile. LinkedIn (2007). Archived from the original on 2008-01-07 Retrieved on 2007-10-19.
  3. Companies House WebCheck. Retrieved on 2007-07-29.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Jagex Game Studios - About Us. Jagex (2008). Retrieved on 2009-04-23.
  5. Runescape - Game Guide - About Jagex. Jagex. Retrieved on 29 March 2010.
  6. WAR OF LEGENDS PROVES VICTORIOUS IN BATTLE. Jagex Ltd (2010). Retrieved on 2009-03-18.
  7. Jagex Limited v. na c/o Kristen Shilley. National Arbitration Forum (2007-01-23)..
  8. Jagex Software. Jagex Ltd (1999-11-29). Retrieved on 2007-06-11.
  9. 9.0 9.1 About Jagex. RuneScape Knowledge Base. Jagex Ltd. Retrieved on 2009-03-22.
  10. Dodson, Sean (2003-12-11). "Rune to Move". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2003/dec/11/games.onlinesupplement2. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  11. RuneScape reaches one million members!. Jagex (4 May 2007). Retrieved on 2007-05-04.
  12. RuneScape Developers Jagex Ltd. Secure Investment from Insight Venture Partners. GamingBlog (28 October 2005). Retrieved on 2007-01-29.
  13. Jagex appoints PayPal CEO to accelerate international growth. Jagex Ltd (23 October 2007). Retrieved on 2008-02-10.
  14. FunOrb FAQ. Jagex Ltd. Retrieved on 2008-02-27.
  15. RuneScape Novel Released!. Jagex Ltd (2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-25.
  16. Jagex Appoints Mark Gerhard as Chief Executive Officer. Jagex Ltd (2009). Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  17. Jagex joins Tiga. Games Eden (2009-04-15). Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  18. WAR OF LEGENDS PROVES VICTORIOUS IN BATTLE. MCV (2010-03-18). Retrieved on 2010-03-18.
  19. http://www.planetarion.com/news/news/read/295-jagex-purchases-planetarion
  20. Mark Ward (2007). "British gaming firm takes on the world". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7090490.stm. Retrieved 2007-01-28. 
  21. Case details for Trade Mark 2403672. UK Intellectual Property Office. Retrieved on 2007-10-23.
  22. Michael Zenke (2008). E308: Jagex teases sci-fi successor to Runescape, Mechscape. Massively. Retrieved on 2008-07-19.
  23. Matt Martin (2008). MMO Week: Jagex's Geoff Iddison. GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved on 2008-05-10.
  24. Michael French (2009). Runescape developer Jagex working on new MMO. Develop. Retrieved on 2008-06-18.
  25. Rob Purchese (2008). FunOrb targeting "every demographic". EuroGamer. Retrieved on 2008-05-19.
  26. RuneScape France. Jagex Ltd (2008-11-12). Retrieved on 2009-02-12.
  27. RuneScape: German Language Beta Launch. Jagex Ltd (2007-02-14). Retrieved on 2009-02-12.
  28. RuneScape: Brazil. Jagex Ltd (2009-07-24). Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  29. Jagex Working on New MMO. Retrieved on 2008-06-24.
  30. Interview: Jagex's Mark Gerhard. Develop (2009-05-22). Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  31. Leigh Alexander (2009-10-29). Jagex Confirms 'Expensive' MechScape Cancellation. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-10-29.
  32. Jagex plans to release new RPG. Jagex Ltd. Retrieved on 2009-12-19.
  33. Stellar Dawn - Free Multi-player Sci-Fi Game - Coming soon from Jagex. Jagex Games Studio. Retrieved on 2010-08-23.
  34. Free MMO Developer Jagex Joins Tiga. Jagex. Retrieved on 2009-04-15.
  35. Region’s leading computer games experts sign-up to new business network. East of England Development Agency (2007-07-12)..
  36. icould partners and collaborators. iCould..
  37. Jagex at E3. Play No Evil. Retrieved on 2008-06-16.
  38. Exhibitor Index. GDC. Retrieved on 2008-06-20.
  39. Jagex CEO to keynote Virtual Worlds Forum. gamesindustry.biz. Retrieved on 2008-08-12.
  40. Codeworks GameHorizon triumphs at Develop Pub Quiz. Develop Mag. Retrieved on 2008-07-30.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For. Sunday Times Online. Retrieved on 2008-02-10.
  42. The World's most successful Game Stuidos. develop mag. Retrieved on 2009-05-12.
  43. Seventh Annual Duke's Choice Awards Spotlights 2009's Most Innovative Java Technology Applications. dSun Microsystems. Retrieved on 2009-06-01.
  44. GJ09: Best UK dev named. Computer and Video Games (2009-10-30). Retrieved on 2009-10-30.
  45. Awards winners profiles. Business Weekly (2010-03-19). Retrieved on 2009-03-19.
  46. Charities. Jagex Ltd. Retrieved on 2008-10-13.
  47. RuneScape - Signed Novel and 12 Months Membership!~Official Charity Auction! Book signed by Andrew Gower~. eBay..
  48. Charity MMO Calendar. Jagex Ltd. Retrieved on 2008-11-14.
  49. Nick Gibson (2008). IP profile: RuneScape. Develop. Retrieved on 2008-05-20.
  50. RuneScape: An Education Kids Don't Need. tom's games. Retrieved on 2008-02-10.
  51. Parents Guide. Jagex Ltd. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  52. Lindsey, Brendon (2009-05-27). Interview with Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard: Part 2 of 3, 'RuneScape' Past, Present, and Future. MMOHub. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.

External links

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