Jagex Partners brings $1bn of live game experience to third-party publishing

New publishing initiative from Runescape developer launches at Gamescom next week and comes with raft of new senior appointments
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Runescape developer Jagex, based in Cambridge UK, today announced its third-party publishing initiative: Jagex Partners. The idea being to leverage the considerable experience and infrastructure garnered from Runescape and put it to use for the benefit of other developers. Experience that has racked up over $1bn in income for Runescape, the company simultaneously announced

John Burns, SVP publishing, summed up the new initiative: “Jagex is uniquely placed to deliver publishing and operational services for studios developing live games. We want to partner with developers who see their game growing into a franchise, attracting millions of players and become a living game that can exist for 15-plus years.”

John Burns, Jagex

John Burns, Jagex

Jagex Partners will look to work across PC, mobile and console. The company’s own mobile launch of Runescape is coming later this year, after closed testing. While console will be a new avenue for the publisher.

It’s also promising excellent access to the Chinese market for partners, thanks to its relationship with parent company Fu Kong Interactive.

More specifically, Jagex will deliver to its partners ‘live game publishing and operational services tailored specifically to the needs of third-party studios’. That will include user acquisition, marketing, audience analytics, monetisation design, billing, customer support and community relations.

All of which will run on a proprietary ‘live ecosystem’ platform which will also provide: ‘player account management and authentication, monetisation, virtual currency management, distribution, hosting and player insight tools’.

Jagex isn’t alone here, though. Cambridge neighbours Frontier Developments have significant live game experience and are also looking to shift into publishing. While Hi-Rez Studios have also announced a restructure to bring their own live game publishing capabilities to the fore. Though neither of these efforts appear as far along as Jagex’s.

The new initiative is led by a trio of recent hires.

Jeff Pabst, Jagex

Jeff Pabst, Jagex

Jeff Pabst has been appointed as VP, third-party publishing. He joined the company from NCSoft West, and previously held senior roles at Sega, Trion and Microsoft. Simon Bull is head of third-party marketing and has 20 years’ experience, including 10 years at Electronic Arts. In addition, Sarah Tilley will work as head of third-party product management, with monetisation experience from both Codemasters and CCP.

Jeff Pabst said: “Publishing and successfully operating a live game is a complex and multi-disciplined ask for any studio. Jagex's strength is in operating live games as living games, supported by a full suite of live game services and systems and millions of players. Now we’re building on those strengths to make Jagex Partners a standalone offering in the third-party publishing market. It’s an offering that will cater to an individual third party’s need to deliver tailor-made live game services, to facilitate audience acquisition, retention and growth. We’re looking forward to taking that offering to third parties at Gamescom.”

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