Jagex, the developer behind the browser-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game RuneScape, announced today that it took a “pivotal role” in the creation of a new Chinese games company, Zhongji Holding.
And why not? China is one of the biggest and fastest-growing gaming markets in the world. Asian games market intelligence group Niko Partners expects digital games revenue to reach $20.4 billion by 2020, and it expects its mobile game market to reach $8.3 billion in 2017. Jagex has been a successful company thanks to its long-running support of RuneScape, and now it can use that expertise to take advantage of a new market.
“Zhongji Holding has great ambition in the gaming space, and Jagex is at the forefront of its charge,” Rod Cousens, chairman and chief executive officer of Jagex, noted in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “China is the biggest gaming market in the world, and Zhongji Holding’s motivation in the sector will prove a compelling proposition for other gaming businesses seeking access to the region. While an integral part of Zhongji Holding’s plans, Jagex’s operations remain unchanged and its business as usual for our games, players and our employees.”
RuneScape originally came out in 2001. Since the MMO runs in browsers and is free, it’s accessible to a large audience. Players have created over 200 million accounts for Runsescape. According to the England-based Jagex, the developer saw record revenues in 2015 of $88.4 million, and it’s expecting even more in 2016.
Zhongji Holding, which is part of the Shanghai Zhongji Enterprise Group, is also now listed in the Chinese Stock Market.