UK games developer and publisher Jagex’s RuneScape franchise achieved its highest-ever player membership peak in 2019.
RuneScape and Old School RuneScape attracted more than 1.1m paying subscribers, in addition to millions who play with the free-to-access content.
Old School RuneScape, in its first full year on mobile and PC, also saw its daily active users reaching their highest ever number in the game’s six-year history. The mobile game has been installed more than 8m times.
The game’s fan convention, RuneFest, saw 11.3m minutes of content streamed on Twitch, and £261,692 was raised for charity overall.
It was also a year that saw Jagex hire more than 100 new employees across development, publishing and operations at its Cambridge HQ.
RuneScape reaches its 19th birthday on January 4th 2020 and Jagex will be preparing for the game’s 20th anniversary in 2021.
It’s not all positive, however. Last year, RuneScape came under fire in the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) inquiry into ‘immersive and addictive technologies’.
One player built up debts of more than £50,000 through spending on microtransactions in RuneScape, reigniting community anger around microtransactions.
Jagex said it makes a whopping third of its revenue from 10% of its players who spend money on microtransactions.
On the more positive news, Phil Mansell, Jagex CEO, said: “Putting Jagex on track for its most successful year to date, 2019 was a record-breaking year for Jagex and our RuneScape communities.
“We’re delighted and deeply appreciate the dedication of our staff and fans.”
John Burns, SVP Publishing, added: “With the solid foundation of the RuneScape franchise and significant influx of new talent, 2020 is poised to be a big year for Jagex. These new additions to our team across all levels has added a great deal of industry-leading experience and knowledge to Jagex as the home of living games, and will fuel our ability to expand RuneScape and Old School RuneScape for players across PC and mobile, and extend the operations of the company itself to new sectors, ensuring long term growth for the years ahead.”
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.