Runescape developer Jagex has revealed it is working on a brand new MMO due for launch in March 2009.
The unnamed MMO was revealed by CEO Geoff Iddison during a panel discussion at today’s GameHorizon Conference in Newcastle.
Dubbed ‘Nextscape’ by Iddison, the game was said to incorporate – as Runescape does – a variety of business and subscription models to drive consumer engagement, he said.
However, although the company has run its successful Runescape MMO since 2001 – offering biweekly content updates – with the new property due to join it early next year, Iddison said that Jagex’ real value isn’t its IP, but its infrastructure.
“We’ve got an infrastructure behind Runescape which is the real silver of the Jagex, the value of the company,” said Iddison. “It’s not the game, the game is going to come and go,” he said.
“The infrastructure is the thing that can scale. Runescape has 10 years of good growth – but the infrastructure is infinitely scalable,” he added of Jagex’ vast operation of servers and online support teams. Although Jagex employs 400 people at its Cambridge, UK HQ, only 25 per cent are dedicated to development. Half the staff are focused on content and support while the rest are dedicated to that infrastructure.
“All the emerging markets, mobile games and payment systems are a driver bhind Jagex,” he added when discussing how the infrastructure takes advantage of emergent industry trends in the online space to drive company growth.
“Once you’ve got that infrastructure ticking its amazing what you can get on it.”
It’s possible that Jagex’ next offering will look to target a wider consumer base/ Although a big force in the more casual end of the MMO market, Runescape’s fantasy world has mostly male players ages eight to 18 which are getting younger as time goes on, admitted Iddison, saying the firm’s strategy currently excluded female players but that “we’ve got some plans there” to redress the imbalance.