British developer Jagex, best known for its long-running MMORPG RuneScape, has made its first-ever acquisition. The studio has picked up Oregon-based developer Pipeworks for an undisclosed amount, and Jagex says this acquisition is only the beginning of a new search for more acquisition partners.
What does this Jagex acquisition mean?
This news comes to us from GamesIndustry.biz, who also got a chance to chat with Jagex CEO Phil Mansell about his future plans for the company. This isn't actually the first time Pipeworks has changed hands in the last couple of years; it was snapped up by British holding company Sumo Digital back in 2020 (which was itself then purchased by Tencent last year). That sale went through for $100 million, but we don't know how much Jagex paid for Pipeworks. What we do know, however, is that Mansell and Jagex don't intend to change what Pipeworks is doing.
Mansell says that Jagex's acquisition of Pipeworks is "massive for us", giving his studio access to the US talent pipeline and bringing it closer to its massive RuneScape US player population. Despite how big Pipeworks is for Jagex, Mansell isn't planning to reinvent the wheel; he says Pipeworks "has a great team and a great business plan" and that Jagex has no interest in interfering with that. It's all part of a big expansion for Jagex which has seen the developer invest more heavily in its games, its publishing department, and its tech. Mansell attributes this expansion to a "clearer vision" for his company, as well as the investment of the Carlyle Group (which was a very fraught and troubled process indeed). Looks like we'll be seeing more good work from Jagex in the future. Let's just hope the folks at Pipeworks aren't working while naked if they're in the office.
2022: a very big year for gaming acquisitions
Whatever the sum Jagex acquired Pipeworks for may be, it's not likely to come close to the bigger gaming acquisitions made in 2022 so far. This is very much the year of the acquisition, with the obvious frontrunner being the record-breaking amount for which Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard at the start of the year. That transaction overshadowed Take-Two's acquisition of Zynga earlier in the same month, which was itself a record-breaking deal until Microsoft came along and waved its cash around.
We'll have to wait and see what Jagex's acquisition of Pipeworks will do for both companies. In the meantime, if all this talk of Jagex has you nostalgic for RuneScape, you can download both the classic version and the modern version for free via Steam right now.