We've had lot of feedback on two recent RuneScape updates in particular: Squeal of Fortune and Solomon's General Store. I’d like to update you on how we plan to help fund the future development of the game you all know and love; how we’re making sure that we do not undermine what makes it the adventure game that millions of us, worldwide, enjoy on a daily basis; and what we’re doing to improve on what we’ve launched so far.
Since RuneScape has been around for over 11 years, we naturally take extreme care when introducing significant changes to its gameplay. This caution is a result of both the direct involvement that many of us at Jagex have had with the game throughout its history, and player feedback highlighting the concerns often associated with such change.
In the case of the Squeal and Solomon’s Store, this has been no different. We have thought out and carefully quantified the impact of these updates on the overall game, and have been looking anxiously at feedback from all of our community. One specific difference that does exist with these updates, however, is that micro-payments are often associated with their potential to undermine the integrity of games so that companies can profit in the short-term. As a result, many players have questioned whether RuneScape is heading down this tragic route.
I want to say, categorically, that we will not go down this road. In reality - and quite in contrast to this speculation - the introduction of micro-payments to RuneScape has a significant role in ensuring that we can continue to support, develop and grow the game for many more years to come.
We place immense value in our - and your - game's integrity, feedback from our community, and continually improving the game experience for all, and we have a strong track record of making decisions in this area that we know may be sub-optimal, commercially speaking, but represent our values. For example, we know that directly selling gold, XP or even accounts would generate between 10 to 15 times more revenue than Squeal or Solomon’s Store generates combined. However, we simply won’t do it, because we don’t believe it’s the right thing for the long-term health of the game.
Equally, many of you will know our past initiatives against botting and gold farming cost us millions of players, and certainly tens of millions of dollars. I believe we are one of the few games studios in the world that prizes the integrity of the game and health of our community over commercial returns, but that’s also why we are the only game that has had multiple record-breaking awards for both longevity and global reach. Over the past 18 months, we have ploughed the majority of our revenue back into the game to guarantee its future over the decade to come. We have literally doubled the size of the RuneScape team, and we are making massive investments in technology and improved support.
This week, you should notice a significant reduction in gold farmer spam. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will not only be launching our most comprehensive and formidable anti-bot update but players will also see a significant upgrade to their accounts' security to protect against phishing and hijacking. This is called Jagex Account Guardian, and we're introducing it within the next two weeks.
Our passion and dedication to the game and community has never changed; nor will it. Our determination to make RuneScape the world's #1 free browser game has not changed either, as some have claimed.The management team and I have the heavy responsibility of ensuring the future of this incredible and unique game. We really appreciate the support and trust you have put in us over the last 5 years. Please know that - although some of our decisions are not necessarily popular - they are 100% driven by the aim of building the strongest possible future for RuneScape. The management team defining the strategy and roadmap today are the exact same passionate gamers that have been at the helm for over half the product's existence, and we only want what is best for RuneScape in the long term.
As I touched on before, the team - all of whom are committed gamers, like you - are constantly working on new ways to improve game play, and to strengthen the studio so that more content can be created for enjoyment of the community.
Thank you for being RuneScape players, and we hope that you will continue to enjoy playing RuneScape over the years to come. We have some tremendous content - as well as technical innovations - lined up over the course of the next few months that we believe you will love. We already have RuneScape running in a new and improved client architecture built on HTML5 (a side by side screenshot of the early improvements over the current engine can be seen below - click for full size), and now I’m happy to report that we also have a dedicated Future Tech team working on bringing the game to your favourite tablets, platforms and even smart TVs in due course.
Java (left) and HTML5 (right)
Over the coming weeks we will be holding a number of live Q&A sessions for you to air your views. We'll let you have more details on these later this week.