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Financial success is a "side effect" of creativity - Jagex

CEO of Runescape developer says thriving online space is sector Microsoft and EA are "desperate to get into"

Jagex's huge financial success has arisen from its commitment to creativity and community, CEO Mark Gerhard has told, and profits have been a "side effect" of that focus. "I tend not to speak much about the business because ultimately we think about the games and our community." he said.

"We've got just under 400 people who are highly passionate about what they do. We employ gamers. It doesn't matter what your job is, you need to love what you do, and I think we get the best out of people. And I do think our profits and everything else are a side effect of that rather than some uber strategy to make money with games as a conduit."

Since becoming the company's CEO in February this year, Gerhard said he has tried to go back to founding principles and make the operation less corporate than it had become - "Recognising who we are, re-embracing our DNA and saying, 'yes we're gamers, we're a slightly quirky British company and we're not ashamed of that.'"

"We've re-embraced the community rather than the business space," he added, saying that he spends more time talking to players on forums than he does the press.

Further evidence of the company's return to core values comes from last month's announcement it had canned upcoming game MechScape at a cost of "millions". It was "vital", said Gerhard, for Jagex to release a game it was proud of and that its team would want to play. "It's crucial to me we don't just ship a title because we've built it."

The recession has helped to fuel the gaming market, he said - "not just for free games, but in general. People are going out less, they're spending more time at home" - and Jagex has seen a "significant" uplift in business over that time.

He added that the growth in the online space is accelerating fast, with big publishers now rallying for position within it.

"Even those that don't do anything in the online space, the traditional guys - the EAs, the Microsofts - are desperate to get into [it] because they know that's where the future is," he said.

You can read the full interview with Mark Gerhard, where he also discusses MechScape, the company's plan to publish third-party titles and how Jagex is able to stay ahead in such a fast growing market space, here.

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