Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Week 9: Runescape Player Age Misconception

I could keep talking about Mechscape, but lets focus on Runescape again for a couple posts. Right now there is not much else to explain about Mechscape since much is unknown and guessing what it will be like is not the most constructive use of a reader's time. More recently MMOHUB performed an interview with Jagex on the development of Runescape and Mechscape in a three part series. After many years of the same management in Jagex, a new CEO has come on board for the company and is promising alot of great changes. Check out the interview here.

What struck me the most about this interview was when the new CEO Mark Gerhard revisited the history of Jagex and their original plans with Runescape. Originally they designed the game to be something they liked to play. People commonly think Runescape is overrun with kids under the age of 13 when actually the average age is a bit higher. On these lines, Gerhard said:
"Like, less than 4% of our players are under 13, and the average age is 16. There are two major spikes; one at 14, and one at 18. And then obviously secondarily one at 19 and weirdly one at 28. I guess that's all of us logging in ..."

"But to be honest it is 16 and up. The best way to describe it is that we actively internally say we're making a game we want to play. And whilst we're not gratuitous with our content -- it might be enjoyed by a younger audience -- but in terms of the gameplay and complexity and puzzling, we've aimed it at an adult mind, not a kid mind. And, I think, that's the message we believe internally and we shared it with our guys. But now, it's important we start saying that publicly."
Jagex has always recognized that their game had a public reputation for being a kid game, but in this interview, he admits that the game is designed for adults. In the past Jagex didn't really mind what people thought of its game, "let them think what they want to think." But now the company is working to change that public image.

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