The Mining & Smithing beta is here and we run through all the new mechanics and de-mystify its secrets while looking back and forward on both skills. Also, thoughts on the value of the 2019 Premier Club package.
It’s November 2018 and Old School RuneScape for mobile has just been released. RuneScape player numbers are skyrocketing. Questions abound regarding direction in RuneScape 3. RuneFest has just finished. And… the Jagex financial report for the year ending December 31, 2017 has just been released in September. Jagex is making a killer profit and that leads to some interesting questions.
But first, recall that last October I had a look at the year ending 2016 Jagex financial report in an articled entitled The Reality of Micro Transactions (MTX). The truth of the day was that Jagex made a grand total of roughly £28.8m profit, with £27,025,917 originating from MTX. Put simply for the year ending December 31, 2016, Jagex would have only made £1,811,828 profit without MTX. The article went into some potential strategies to make up for this drop in profit. Read it and now compare with the year ending 2017!
Before we begin you can find Jagex’s public filings here. The document we’ll be looking at today is “Group of companies’ accounts” dated September 5, 2018. This document details the financial situation of Jagex Ltd. for the year ended December 31, 2017.
For the year ending December 31, 2017 Jagex made a profit of £43,546,491. This is a spike of £14.7m over 2016 profits. Jagex did this on a revenue of £84,863,699 (compared to £74,423,778 in 2016). This is largely made up from £55m in subscription revenue and £29.2m in MTX revenue. If MTX were to disappear as a revenue source, Jagex would still bring in a healthy £14.3m profit. That’s not to say MTX should disappear but it raises interesting questions since subscription revenue increased 17% year over year while MTX revenue increased 8% year over year.
The first question is: which game drives more subscriptions? RuneScape 3 or Old School? We don’t know actual subscriber numbers thus are forced to rely on player counts, as a result we have to ask, which game brings in more revenue? We’re going to engage in some back of the envelope mathematics here in a moment which means the resulting conclusion may or may not be right. We’re going to be looking at June 2017, where we see a general player split of 30k for RS3 and 45k for OS. As per the report we know that RS3 was responsible for ~£53m revenue while OS was responsible for ~£32m revenue. We can then extrapolate revenue per player:
At the end of the day we know that RuneScape 3 leads the revenue per player of Old School by almost a factor of 2.5. We would have a much better picture of where the revenue came from if subscription numbers were reported for each game. The question to be asked in 2019 and beyond is: how much revenue per subscriber does each game bring in?
This leads to a natural question regarding Old School: Can Old School stand on its own? We know the OS team is smaller, probably has lower budgets, and moves quicker. This means that their costs should also be lower than RuneScape 3. OS makes up more than one-third (37% to be precise) of Jagex’s revenue. Dropping everything else Old School RuneScape probably could support its own membership fee. The game would survive any community backlash because of the universal law: follow the money. People love Old School RuneScape and many will keep playing just to keep padding their RuneScape 3 accounts with wealth (via OS->RS3 wealth transfers). This would also benefit the RuneScape 3 community as long as the assurance is made that revenue from RuneScape 3 is invested into RuneScape 3 while revenue from Old School is invested back into Old School.
For a game that started as a reaction to changes made to the combat system (the Evolution of Combat), Old School has become an entity of its own stature. It has recently seen an impressive mobile launch, though we’ll see if the peak continues. This leads to the question, should Old School have its own membership fee and if not, why not?
A price structure could be set up in such a way that people pay $9.99 for one membership (currently $10.99) and $14.99 for membership on both games. Gold Premier Club could include membership to both games at the current pricing scheme for Premier Club packages. Combining this with RuneMetrics for Gold Premier Club would create the best value Premier Club package ever offered.
As with 2016, the results for the year of 2017 show that Jagex is headed in the right direction from the point of the financials. The company is settings personal records as it goes forward in terms of profit, profit growth, and revenue growth year over year. This leads us to ask some final questions. First, as Jagex continues to mature and reveal its path forward to players, should it structure its games in the same way Alphabet (parent company of Google) structures its companies? Each game (RuneScape 3 and Old School right now) would stand on its own and report its own revenue and profits. Finally, should subscriber counts be included in these reports as a way to further understand where the corporate revenue originates?
A bonanza of achievements this week including love letters, meat tenderisers, and fruit! A reflection on ‘Til Death Do Us Part and the community question of quivers, sheaths, and wheelbarrows going too far.
A surprise Double XP Weekend: content filler or a brilliant move to bring attention to the Mining & Smithing beta? Also, thoughts on the current update release schedule and backtrack on a backtrack.
October was a whirlwind month for RSBANDB, we kicked it off with RuneFest and ended it with some of our greatest articles yet. RuneFest had ramifications for those who went and those who stayed home but more on that in a moment. First though, the articles of the month deserve some attention.
Starting off the month we had David come in with an article about Vorago, that big rock guy. Vorago was released in 2013 and still continues to be one of the best combat encounters to this day, learn why in Vorago - The Peak of RuneScape Combat?.
October saw the release of RuneScape's Halloween themed holiday event, 'Til Death Do Us Part. The event ran through the entire month with new phases each week. Alex talks about how events such as 'Til Death Do Us Part leave the old story telling quest style events in the past and can sometimes become a drag.
Remember the console wars? Not the Xbox One versus PlayStation 4, but the console wars of the 1990s? In a break from RuneScape, Tanis talked about the console wars of the 1990s and the resurgence of retro-gaming. Some of these games still require a CRT TV to be playable with certain accessories.
Along with any RuneFest comes the inevitable combat council talk. This time lots of questions were asked about 4TAA (4 tick auto attacking) and as a surprise to everyone... macros. David had a look at the RuneFest 2018 Combat Talk and asked, is this modernizing PvM? Specifically, should basic macros be allowed for PvM combat?
RuneFest, RuneFest, RuneFest... Lore talks, combat talks, reveals, all staples of RuneFest. This year though we had two of your Informer writers at RuneFest, Cireon and yours truly. We had a great time both at the event and in our activities in and around London. The ever present theme of RuneFest thinking back on it was that of One RuneScape Community. We can only ever hope that we can get back to that stage in-game and online but it exists at RuneFest, read on to see many examples of that happening. People also ask what it's like to meet people you've previously only met online. Cireon has an answer to that in From "RS with friends" to "friends with RS". It's a tale of friendship coming full circle with RuneScape in the middle and so many people agree that this is exactly how it goes.
This year Clan Quest had another huge contingent of people at RuneFest. It was a weekend stuffed full of fun and friendship. I invite everyone to read the November issue of the Clan Quest magazine, Questaholic. There's even interviews with Earth and Tanis.
The October Agility Skill of the Month rocketed on with a huge amount of experience being gained. Our winner Sorensen57 gained 71,009,235 experience. In second place we had Magebit with 28.5 million experience gained and in third, Pyrnassius with 10 million experience. Sorensen, here's your trophy:
To coincide with November's Achievement Bonanza we'll be running our very first competition not based on experience! Once this update drops we'll be running a 14 day long RSBANDB "achievement bonanza" to see who can gain the most RuneScore in 14 days. Watch Twitter @rsbandb for a notification of when this is getting underway.
With that being said, we'll see you next month! Also, don't forget you can join us in-game at friends' chat: BitsBytes. You can also join our Discord by going to rsbandb.com/discord.