Jagex’s plans to expand its workforce by 25 per cent in 2019 remain on track with a number of new appointments bringing experience from Electronic Arts, Zynga, and Splash Damage. The firm says the new hires will “drive forward the company’s growth plans to continue the stellar performance of the RuneScape franchise”, as well as “build new game experiences and support its third-party games publishing initiative”.
Former EA executive Melissa Bachman-Wood joins as vice-president of studio, whilst James Burns will work on the company’s as-yet-unannounced online action role-playing game as technical director. Formerly of Nintendo Europe, Malachy O’Neill has been appointed as director of quality assurance, and Mark Faulkner returns to the company as its new director of publishing platform. Ben Albon rounds off the changes with a promotion from lead operations engineer to IT director.
“With the significant talent we’re able to continuously attract to Jagex, it’s very clear that big things lie ahead for the studio,” said Nick Beliaeff, SVP of Game Development. “These great new additions to the team add industry leading experience and knowledge, which fuel our goals to build and expand RuneScape and Old School RuneScape for players on both PC and mobile, extend the franchise to new platforms and new game experiences, and bring new living games into the Jagex portfolio.”
“I’m thrilled to join the Jagex team and delighted for the chance to enable our teams to deliver even more great games to our players,” added Bachman-Wood. “I’m eager to help lead Studio strategy and execution to enable Jagex to excel in its ambition to be the home of living games, building out our world-class studio teams and processes.”
2018 saw Jagex grow its team by over 100 people – including several new senior appointments – while investment in research and development grew by 69 per cent. The company finished its 2018/19 fiscal year with a “record-breaking performance”, including a 9.3 per cent rise in income year-on-year, boosting revenue to £92.8 million and making it the company’s fourth successive year of growth.
Jagex – which also saw its profits before tax grow to £46.8 million, up 3.8 per cent on last year – attributes the success in part to the RuneScape franchise securing its highest ever paid membership total, and Old School RuneScape’s launch on iOS and Android, which now boasts more than five million installs.
Looking ahead, the Jagex Partners initiative hopes to “deliver live game publishing and operational services tailored specifically to the needs of third-party studios”.