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Jagex Ltd.

Jagex

Type
Private
Founded
2001 (incorporated 28 April 2000)[1]
Headquarters
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Key people
Andrew Gower, Paul Gower, and Constant Tedder (founders);
Mark Gerhard (company CEO);
Christoph Vietzke (head of RuneScape)
Industry
Computer and video game industry, MMORPG, Software consultancy & supply[1]
Products
RuneScape, FunOrb, StellarDawn, 8Realms, War of Legends
No. of employees
Around 450-500[2]
Website

Jagex Ltd. (also known as Jagex Software or JaGeX Games Studio) is a United Kingdom-based producer of Java-based online video games, whose name is contracted from Java Gaming Experts[3] or Just About the Gaming Experience. The company name is pronounced \ˈdʒæ.ɡɛks\, as spoken by former CEO Geoff Iddison in August 2008.[4] The company is best-known for its MMORPG RuneScape.

Jagex is a well-received company, ranking 59th on the Sunday Times' 100 Best Companies in the UK to Work For list for 2007, having been unranked for 2006.[5] However, this slipped to number 87 for 2008.[6]

History

The jagex team.. and paintball..
Members of Jagex staff after a paintball game in April 2003.[7]

The name Jagex Software has been in use since at least 1999 and was originally described as a "small software company based in England [who] specialise in producing top-quality Java-games for webpages".[8] Andrew Gower tweeted on the RuneFest Twitter that the original Jagex office was "two meters by three meters with a table and PC we had borrowed".[9]

According to Companies House, Meaujo (492) Limited was incorporated on 28 April 2000, and changed its name to Jagex Limited on 27 June 2000.[1] The Jagex website states that the company was founded in December 2001 by Andrew Gower, Paul Gower, and Constant Tedder.[3] The aim of this company was to operate its MMORPG, RuneScape, which had been in development since 1999. By the time of the company's founding, one year after the release of the game, RuneScape already had over one million free accounts registered. The first tasks of the company were to create a version of the game with extra features that required a £3.20 ($5 USD) monthly fee, while still offering the free version, and to develop partnerships with advertisers. Both tasks were achieved, and the pay-to-play version of RuneScape was released on 27 February 2002, gaining 5,000 subscriptions in the first week making RuneScape one of the largest Java pay-to-play games in the world. On 4 May 2007, Jagex announced that RuneScape has over 9,000,000 free players and over 1,000,000 pay-to-play subscribers.[10] In 2006, Andrew and Paul Gower were calculated to be worth £32 million. On "The Rich List 2007", Andrew and Paul are under claims to be worth £106 million ($168 million USD). Andrew Gower is also known for his varieties of Java games.[11] Jagex also received an investment from Insight Venture Partners in October 2005.[12] The company had been self-funded before this investment. RuneScape has since been translated into German,[13][14] French and recently in Portuguese. Jagex was ranked 59th on the list of The Best 100 Companies to work for by the Sunday Times.[15][16]
Jagex team updated
The Jagex team around April of 2011

Jagex co-creator Andrew Gower still works with Jagex staff every day.

Around December of 2011, Jagex finished preparation of a full move to a consolidated HQ in Cambridge Science Park. This combined both their Community Management and FunOrb office and their former headquarters. This building is more than double the size of the old HQ, and has many more perks and amenities with it than the old office, allowing Jagex to improve their benefits even more.

New jagex office
The Jagex APC in front of the new Jagex office

In 2012, Jagex opened a small office in California, with former Rockstar Games developers staffing it. They are currently working on a Facebook game called Carnage Racing, which is now out and available on Facebook or through the Carnage Racing Website ([1]).

Future development

Jagex offices QA
The Quality Assurance department in the new Jagex headquarters office, 2012.

Jagex have stated on their website that they "intend to become a significant online operator in all the major gaming markets worldwide"[17] by developing new games using their own technologies.

There had been many rumours of Jagex's next big release, and Jagex confirmed that it would be releasing a new MMORPG called MechScape.[18] This game was planned to be released in the first quarter of the year of 2009, but was delayed. It will be a futuristic MMOG that will break away from RuneScape's homely roots[19] but will still be browser based. The game will be aimed at a higher age range and will be slightly or wholly sci-fi.[20] It was officially confirmed by Jagex at the gaming event E3 on 15 July 2008. However it was cancelled in August 2009, but Jagex confirmed, on a MechScape fan forum, that they were developing it from scratch and gave it a name change to "Stellar Dawn". On 2 March 2012, Jagex announced a pause on the development of Stellar Dawn, in order to focus on other larger projects such as Transformers Universe and the continually-evolving future of RuneScape.

Jagex also acts as the publisher of the online flash-based game called "War of Legends". It is a multiplayer real time strategy game.

Operation

Jagex has grown heavily since the founding of the company in 2001. They currently have offices in Cambridge and London, with a small office in California. The company had been recruiting heavily in 2006 and has over 500 employees, grouped into the multiple departments across the three offices. In 2011, they recruited nearly 200 employees, and Mark Gerhard has stated that they have doubled the size of the RuneScape team in order to bring about the Evolution of Combat, multiple game engine upgrades, and "RuneScape 3".

They maintain about 140 servers for RuneScape in various locations in United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States. Some of the more recent additions to the servers include the addition of the German, French and Portuguese servers. These are currently the only servers for non-English versions of the game thus far, but Jagex has confirmed that more languages are planned.[21]

Beyond RuneScape

While most of Jagex staff work with RuneScape, they have separate departments for each game they develop, and they still maintain many games that can be played on FunOrb, as well as several other games unrelated to FunOrb.

DeviousMUD

Main article: DeviousMUD

In 1999 Jagex created a game called "DeviousMUD", now called RuneScape. DeviousMUD was never opened to the public. DeviousMUD's subline was "DeviousMUD by Andrew Gower". Andrew Gower demonstrated DeviousMUD at RuneFest.[22]

Classic Jagex Games

  • Vertigo (A new version Entitled Vertigo 2 has been released on FunOrb)
  • Flea Circus (The original version has been taken off the Jagex site and has been replaced with a new version on FunOrb.)
  • Tetralink (Can be found on the FunOrb site as a newer version.)
  • Cyberwars
  • Warships
  • Checkers (Re-Formatted to Draughts in the Burthorpe Games Room.)
  • Chess (A multiplayer version of the game can now be found on FunOrb.)
  • Reversi (Re-formatted to Runeversi in the Burthorpe Games Room.)
  • Go-Mad
  • SlimeWar or Ataxtix (Renamed to ViroGrid, can be found on FunOrb.)
  • Monkey Puzzle (Renamed to Monkey Puzzle 2, can be found on FunOrb, although the original version can still be found on the Jagex website via link manipulation, which can be found here.)
  • The Bottomless Pit was an old animation by Jagex that was listed as a game... It was a never ending animation. It would display a series of messages, each with a delay of around 5 seconds at the bottom of the screen while an animation of falling into endless darkness was shown, and then the messages would start over once they were all displayed. There was also a seamlessly looping sound of a falling noise. The Bottomless Pit is no longer available on the Jagex website, however, it can be found here. If you would watch The Bottomless Pit for long enough, you would discover that it actually tells you cheat codes for various classic Jagex games, but those who would use the cheat codes would not have their scores saved to the high scores table.
  • Outpost
  • Goldmine
  • Meltdown (Dr. Phlogiston Saves the Earth is a possible remake of this game.)
  • Meteoroids (Stellar Shard is a possible remake of this game.)

These are just some of the games. A full list can be found here.

FunOrb

Funorb logo
FunorbWebsite logo
FunOrb

In February 2008, Jagex announced that they would be releasing a casual browser-based gaming site called FunOrb within the month. FunOrb was released on 27 February 2008.[23] It uses the same account information as RuneScape, but requires a separate membership.

The site hosts small games varying in amount of possible playtime from an hour to two days. Some of the website and games are completely free-to-play, although members receive many other benefits, such as many Achievements, fullscreen mode for all games, and access to more features in nearly all games. Jagex offers a discount for those who are paying members of both RuneScape and FunOrb.

It was originally released with 18 games, the amount of games has increased to 43 over the time. However, since 16 September 2010, there wasn't a single update, besides bugfixes.[24]

The most popular game on the site is Arcanists. Jagex has used almost exclusively the popularity of RuneScape to gain patrons for this site, with almost all FunOrb players being either current or former RuneScape players due to very little advertising.

In January 2009, Jagex released a multiplayer game called Armies of Gielinor. This is the game that is set in the RuneScape universe they promised to release. You can summon beasts such as Black Knights, greater Demons, Aviansies, and other monsters from the RuneScape universe. It has become one of the most popular games on FunOrb.

On January 23rd 2013, Mark Gerhard confirmed that he has plans for a full reboot and update of FunOrb in the long term. It will include a rework of the website, updates to current games, addition of new games, and creation of even more mobile games than before. Gerhard stated that the earliest they could do this would be in 2014, as 2013 is the year that they're focusing on RuneScape 3 and Transformers Universe.[source needed]

MechScape and Stellar Dawn

Mechscape concept
The first official concept art For MechScape.

Rumoured during parts of 2007 and throughout 2008, MechScape is Jagex's new MMORPG, which was due for release in the first quarter of 2009.[25] However, the MechScape project has since been dropped.[26]

Sadly the game was not as complete as we wanted and we spent the first few months trying to “fix” the game where we could. About a month or so ago we took the decision to stop trying to “fix it” as we still wouldn’t have the game we wanted and the game certainly did not meet all the objectives and specifications established in the original game design document and therefore it would be better to go back to the founding principles and build the game we always wanted –Andrew is now overseeing the project and working very closely with the team to build Stellar Dawn, not all was lost as we naturally have developed the game engine substantially over the last few years and the new designs benefits massively from this as well as a ton of experience within the team as to what works and what doesn’t. So whilst the content and a lot of the game play will change from what was previously built almost everything else will go straight back into Stellar Dawn.[27]
 
Mark Gerhard, October 25, 2009

Building on the MechScape game engine, Jagex planned to release a new MMO, confirmed to be Stellar Dawn, in 2010.[26]

Previously, if one attempted to go to Stellardawn.com, they would be redirected to FunOrb.com.

On 14 July 2010, the Stellar Dawn website was put up.[28] On the website, users could sign up to be part of a closed beta. However, on 2 March 2012, the Stellar Dawn project was paused from further development.[29] A Jagex moderator confirmed in January of 2013 that development of Stellar Dawn would resume in either 2014 or 2015.

Transformers Universe

Jagex and Hasbro are currently working on a Transformers MMO, called Transformers Universe. It has been in development for several years and the game is expected to be released in 2013. This game has received much more mainstream coverage than any of Jagex's previous games, as it is part of a major entertainment franchise.

Carnage Racing

In 2012, Jagex announced that they had opened a small office in California, consisting of former developers from Rockstar Games. This studio is currently working on a Facebook game called "Carnage Racing", which attempts to bring console-style graphics to Facebook. It is developed using the Unity game engine, and is now available on Facebook.

Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades is a sandbox-style first-person shooter originally developed by former developers of Minecraft. The original developers decided to leave, and Jagex took over the remainder of the development. Its goal is to go against the cliches of most first-person shooters and create a unique experience. It has been in prototype phase for a year, and has already garnered more than one million players. It has been released and is available on Steam for a small, one-time fee.

iOS games

Jagex has also released several games for iOS devices. They are:

  • Bouncedown
  • Miner Disturbance
  • StarCannon
  • Undercroft


Charity Fund Raising

Since 2004 Jagex has made donations to a number of national and international charities. It has also run charity auctions for signed merchandise.

In 2008 they donated artwork and prizes to the MMOCalendar, which raises funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In 4 years (probably 2005-2008[source needed]), Jagex has donated money to charity, broken down as below.

  • Year ending 6 March - £106,000
  • Year ending 7 March - £157,000
  • Year ending 8 March - £147,000
  • Current year to date - £127,000

The charities that Jagex have donated to include:

  • Save the Children
  • CAFOD
  • Hamlin Churchill Childbirth Injuries Fund
  • Cancer Research
Jagex movember
Members of Jagex staff that participated in Movember
  • Cystic Fibrosis Trust
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • Royal Marsden Cancer Campaign
  • Bury Bombers Wheelchair Basketball
  • SOS Children's Villages
  • East Anglican Children's Hospice (EACH) [30]

Jagex has also taken part in the Movember charity for men, and all revenue that comes from RuneFest is donated to charity.

Further Charity has been taken in the form of conversion of in-game wealth from players donations to money, from the Well of Goodwill , donated at $1 per 1 million.

YouTube channel

Also in early 2008, Jagex created their own YouTube channel, called "thejagexchannel", which is "The official YouTube channel for Jagex Ltd, producers of quality online games based on Java technology."[31]

Jagex has verified the authenticity of the channel, and has stated that it is permissible for RuneScape players to discuss openly the videos on the channel.[32] This is an exception to their general policy, which is that discussion of specific YouTube videos in-game is prohibited.

The channel currently contains seventeen videos.

Jagex also has a twitter account called Official Jagex, a Facebook, and a LiveJournal called "TheJagexLJ".

It has been noted by Mark Gerhard that he will be using the Jagex YouTube page more and will be interacting more with RuneScape players on YouTube.

Wikipedia logo
Wikipedia has an article about:
Jagex


References

  1. ^ a b c Companies House WebCHeck. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
  2. ^ {{Cite web |url=http://www.jagex.com/corporate
  3. ^ a b About Jagex. RuneScape Customer Support documentation. Jagex. “Jagex, which stands for Java Gaming Experts, is the name of the company which produces the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, MMORPG, RuneScape, and the Java Activities site, FunOrb, as well as some other small games. In December 2001 Andrew Gower, Paul Gower and Constant Tedder got together and founded Jagex Limited as a commercial operation to take over the running of RuneScape, its underlying technologies and other games developed by Andrew.”
  4. ^ Video: RuneScape HD Details from Leipzig GC. Ten Ton Hammer, owned and operated by Master Games International Inc.. At 0:30, Geoff Iddison pronounces the name of the company.
  5. ^ The Sunday Times. Sunday Times. Retrieved on 2008-05-02.
  6. ^ The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For pp. 4. Madgex, on behalf of Times Online.
  7. ^ Bang! I win! Jagex team photo. Jagex Ltd..
  8. ^ Jagex Software. Jagex Ltd..
  9. ^ Twitter / RuneFest. Jagex Ltd..
  10. ^ RuneScape reaches one million members!. Jagex Ltd..
  11. ^ Rich List 2006. Sunday Times Online.
  12. ^ RuneScape Developers Jagex Ltd. Secure Investment from Insight Venture Partners. GamingBlog.
  13. ^ German Language Beta Launch – Some Information. RuneScape News List. Jagex Ltd. “As you might have noticed, we've just added a German language option to the sidebar on the front page of our website. This goes to a section of this website where all the text in the game and on the website has been translated into German. At the moment our German section is online for testing only, which means not all areas are available to everyone yet. Anyone can view the open areas, but the areas which need a login (including the game itself) are currently running in “closed beta” mode, which means you will only be able to visit them if we have specifically invited you to take part.”
  14. ^ Hereinspaziert - die Open Beta der deutschen Version beginnt! (German). Jagex Ltd..
  15. ^ The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies to Work For. Sunday Times Online.
  16. ^ In 2009 Jagex was short listed for the UK Developer of The Year award at the Golden Joystick Awards
  17. ^ Jagex Company History. Jagex Ltd..
  18. ^ E308: Jagex teases sci-fi successor to RuneScape, Mechscape. Massively.
  19. ^ MechScape World. MechScape World.
  20. ^ MechScape - what do we know?. Zybez.
  21. ^ RuneScape France. RuneScape News List. Jagex Ltd. “Bonjour! We’re pleased to announce that we have just released the RuneScape game and website in its third language: French. ... More languages are planned for RuneScape in the future, so keep an eye out for further updates.”
  22. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD63B3YtYjo
  23. ^ FunOrb Announcement Forums.
  24. ^ FunOrb news. FunOrb.
  25. ^ Confirmed by Jagex at the 2008 E3 Gaming Convention.
  26. ^ a b http://www.casualgaming.biz/news/29415/Jagex-scraps-MechScape
  27. ^ http://www.mechscapeworld.com/2009/10/25/mark-gerhards-qa-with-mechscape-world/
  28. ^ Jagex. The Stellar Dawn #mmorpg website has now been launched at http://www.stellardawn.com.
  29. ^ Mod Mmg. Pausing Stellar Dawn.
  30. ^ http://www.jagex.com/corporate/Giving_Back/charities.ws Published several years ago
  31. ^ "The Jagex Channel", YouTube.com
  32. ^ Mod Poppy. Frequently Asked Questions. The Reporting Academy pp. 2. Jagex. “If someone is referring to a specific YouTube video, either by giving out the URL or by telling players what to search for, then you should report under Rule 11. The only exception is the videos on the official Jagex YouTube channel (thejagexchannel). Because we made the content, we know that it is safe so you don't need to report those.”

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