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RuneScape firm Jagex on eye out for mobile games acquisitions

RuneScape firm Jagex on eye out for mobile games acquisitions

RuneScape firm Jagex is on the hunt for companies to bolster its mobile capabilities.

That's according to the Cambridge game developer's CEO Phil Mansell, who told our sister title PCGamesInsider.biz at Gamescom that Jagex's heritage is in PC and thus it needs to find those skills elsewhere.

This follows Jagex continually hiring a load of real top talent since it was purchased by Chinese entertainment firm Fukong. The company also launched Jagex Partners, its new publishing division, last week, as well as announcing that RuneScape had made $1.064bn since its launch. 

"That has been something we've been doing quietly in the background," he said.

"This is a long-term thing. It's something we're looking cautiously and diligently at, but we are not a mobile-first company right now. We are PC in our DNA. The new MMO we are making is PC-first with multi-platform being the destination for it. Mobile is more a twinkle in our eye for the new RPG we are making. The strategic fit we want is mobile. If we have living games and PC as the core DNA and growing out from that point, we want someone to provide mobile first with that living game community to complement us and a pipeline of mobile-first products and skills to complement us."

The exec was quick to add that were these deals to take place, he wasn't looking to "eat people up", referencing his first job in the industry working at developer Bull Frog around the time that Electronic Arts snapped the studio up.

"We're not looking eat people up," he said.

"My first industry job was at Bull Frog just after EA bought them. I have seen first hand the Borg mode M&A integration approach. The people we likely talk to over the last year are companies we respect massively for their creative skills, their IP and portfolio. It's not about Jagex grabbing someone and creating Jagex Paris or Vancouver. That's not the idea. It'd be a group company, a subsidiary, as opposed to Borg-level stuff. That's something we're not rushing into. Our highest priority is our internal operations, the growth we were talking about. That's why we haven't been making too much noise about M&A. It's less about money from China, to be honest, we're very fortunate to be cash-generative. A company in our position will always be looking."

Both RuneScape and its Old School counterpart are set to release on mobile, with the latter currently being in soft launch in Canada.


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he was hired to launch PCGamesInsider.biz for Steel Media before departing the firm in October 2019.

He has also written for GamesIndustry.biz, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.

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