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Jagex CEO Phil Mansell on the evolution of live games and RuneScape

How to go beyond games-as-a-service
Jagex CEO Phil Mansell on the evolution of live games and RuneScape

Kicking off Pocket Gamer Connects London 2018, Jagex CEO Phil Mansell gave a talk on the evolution of live games and RuneScape.

While RuneScape has traditionally been a PC browser-based MMO, both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape are launching on mobile later in 2018.

"Probably the biggest gaming trend is the rise of games-as-a-service," said Mansell, noting that the trend has started to influence the design of console games along with mobile and PC.

Games now have much longer lifecycles, with developers and publishers moving beyond simply adding DLC to also including extended social features.

In turn, players are now investing more time into games, and feeling rewarded for their investment of both time and money, but are also focusing on fewer titles.

Make it evergreen

Jagex itself has plenty of experience operating a long-running game through RuneScape, so Mansell offered five tips to think about with live games.

The first suggestion was to develop with an evergreen design in mind, and ensuring that there's plenty of mid and long-term engagement in a title to ensure players come back.

Secondly, Mansell suggested that empowering players and allow them to help shape the game also keeps them engaged, as it gives them a stake in the game's future.

Third, a game should be "alive and evolving", with regular updates to both keep current players interested, and also encourage churned players to return as the game builds to be bigger than it was when they played.

Mansell's fourth suggestion was to "build truly emotional connections between players", and build a meaningfully social platform that helps nurture a community and even friendships.

Finally, Mansell talked about creating experiences beyond the game with real-life events, and make the game go beyond a hobby into something of a lifestyle.