The guy that ran European publisher Codemasters for the last decade has moved on to take over as the big boss at one of the United Kingdom’s most successful publishers of massively multiplayer online games.
Rod Cousens has stepped away from his position as Codemasters chief executive officer to take over the CEO role at Jagex, the developer of popular free-to-play MMO RuneScape. Jagex brought in Cousens to oversee a “period of expansion.” While RuneScape will continue to serve its dedicated audience with more content, the new executive will guide Jagex as it launches a new collectible card battler and an online shooting game for the PC. The current roster of officers that have run Jagex since 2001 will now report to Cousens. The publisher made $69 million in 2014.
This is the latest top-level position for Cousens, who has a lengthy list of related job experience. In 1981, he started in the game industry. His first major role was as the international president of Activision in 1985. He held that position through 1990 before moving on to act as chief operating officer of Acclaim Entertainment in 1991. In 2004, he left Acclaim. In 2005 he took over as CEO of Codemasters.
Cousens will use what he has learned to help grow Jagex. The company recently announced Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, a card game that introduces a new way to play while still enjoying the established world and mythos of the RuneScape universe. Later this month, Jagex will release its tactical online shooter Block N Load for PC. Like RuneScape, both Chronicle and Block N Load are free PC games that will feature in-game purchases.
As for Codemasters, the company responsible for publishing games like Dirt 3, F1 2015, and Colin McRae Racing, it will continue under the leadership of its chief operating officer Frank Sagnier. Despite its library of successful racing games, Codemasters has struggled in recent years. It has a list of failed attempts to expand beyond racing games. In January, the company cut approximately 50 jobs.