Jagex claims 'most successful year' despite late financial report

Jagex claims 'most successful year' despite late financial report
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

January 4th 2013 at 3:00PM

RuneScape developer insists it will file its accounts soon as Companies House makes proposal to strike them off

Jagex has claimed it has experienced its most successful year ever despite being three months late in producing its financial results for 2012.

As we reported in November, Jagex has yet to post its accounts for the previous year to the Companies House, which was due on September 30th.

But speaking to Develop, Jagex chief marketing officer David Solari and chief financial officer Riaan Hodgson said they intended to file their report soon, but had prioritised a number of other things such as the Transformers MMO and the release of Ace of Spades before filing their accounts.

Since speaking to Jagex just before the Christmas break, an active ‘proposal to strike off’ has been listed on the Companies House site. A spokesperson from the Companies house explained that the Registrar had made the move due to the lateness of the accounts filing.

Jagex now has three months to file their accounts – which they have said they plan to do so soon – or the company will be dissolved. This means they will be struck off as a legal limited company should they not do so.

It should be noted however that the event of this occurring seems highly remote, given the extensive plans the 500-strong studio has for its future, as Solari explains.

“It’s been the busiest year the company has ever had,” said Solari.

“We’re developing our second really big MMO with Transformers, that’s just gone into closed beta with some great results there. We’re launching Ace of Spades which has flown right in there and it’s been at the top of the Steam charts for us which has been absolutely fantastic as well, there’s just been a huge amount of focus around that.”

Hodgson added that Jagex was very pleased with the plans it had set out last year, with the launch of a new studio in California releasing Facebook title Carnage Racing, as well as Steam top seller Ace of Spades, and insisted RuneScape was still the “cherry in the crown” for the studio, and had been doing “magnificent”.

When questioned further on whether a strong financial position meant the studio was at its most profitable ever, Hodgson said it was the developer’s “most successful year ever”.

“We’ve made choices about investing in new products coming out next year,” he said.

“So for us it’s not just driving profitability it’s driving long term, sustainable financial health. Which means we’re investing in new things and not just taking everything out as dividends as we use to in the past.”

Hodgson also insisted that the studio had already seen “great results” from its investments, and expected this to continue into next year.

Reshaping the studio

In the last year, despite RuneScape surpassing 200 million registered users, and adding “revenue strength” with microstransactions into the MMO, Jagex has been reshaping its development plans.

In March the studio froze development on its sci-fi MMO Stellar Dawn and laid off 12 staff, while there were also further staff losses with the shutdown of another MMO, 8Realms. Despite this, Solari and Hodgson said 2012 had been one of the biggest years of growth for the developer, with a “significant number” of new hires and a number of jobs still vacant going into 2013.

When asked about the layoffs and whether that meant there had been some difficulties financially, Hodgson said: “As a company, our financials have never been better. But clearly as an organisation we live in a very competitive commercial world and if a product, if we don’t see a commercial success for it, we need to make pretty tough decisions to make sure that overall our financial position remains strong. So it means we do close things if they’re not successful.”

Solari added: “I mean that’s game development to a certain extent. You know, you grow there, you think there’s a great idea, you grow it and make it and sometimes it works the way you want it to and sometimes it’s not quite there. Sometimes you push it further and harder to get it to where you want it to go and it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

“We’ve actually got a pretty good track record considering we haven’t launched an awful lot of games and the ones that we have generally been very successful But you know, nobody has a 100 per cent track record.”