MMO Week: Iddison confirms global expansion for Jagex

Former PayPal and eBay exec reveals Asian and Eastern European plans, new MMO due Q1 2009

By Matt Martin.Published Friday 9th May 2008, 7:00am GMT

Geoff Iddison, CEO of RuneScape developer Jagex, has confirmed to GamesIndustry.biz that the company intends to take its browser-based MMO to parts of Asia and Eastern Europe in 2008 in an effort to internationalise the business.

The former PayPal and eBay exec has compared the Jagex business to his old employers, and sees its in-house technology as the key strength behind ambitious global expansion plans.

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"We're in a position with our business, technology and distribution model that no other business in this sector is in," said Iddison in an exclusive interview published today.

"Jagex is an internet business, but it's like a start-up. It reminds me of the very early days of eBay when I joined in 2000 and similarly with PayPal when eBay purchased it. That experience of taking a business from start-up to being a worldwide player is the business experience I'm be bringing to Jagex," he added.

Iddison has pinpointed markets such as Malaysia and India as ideal for RuneScape, but he's aware that each market will need individual localisation and attention if expansion is the be successful.

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"There are markets in Asia that are more relevant to RuneScape than others. RuneScape is not for Japan, but it could work well in Malaysia for example.

"Each of the payment options and relationships with payment providers needs to be localised, as does the content of the game," he detailed.

RuneScape, which boasts six million active subscribers, will receive at least another five years of support from the Cambridge-based developer, but the team is also planning a new launch in early 2009.

"We've got a very, very big investment into another MMO," confirmed Iddison.

More from Iddison, including how Jagex's MMO skills have been employed for its casual offering FunOrb, can be read here.

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