Poaching games

How do big companies find the next big thing?
17 July 2019

Interview with 

Julia Kenny, Business Development Associate at Jagex


Crosshairs aiming at an eye


There’s a growing industry in poaching up and coming games! Big companies are always looking for the next big thing… the next Fortnite… the next World of Warcraft, and there are hundreds of independent developers making new games all the time. Julia Kenny is a business development associate from Jagex, they develop the Runescape Games… she told Chris Berrow how it works...

Julia - If you think about it like a record label trying to find really talented artists to sign we're looking for developers that have the same vision as we do when it comes to making deeply engaging social multiplayer games and we want to partner up with them for like a long term relationship where we give them money to start with and we give them the support from our expertise of 18 years of running green scape and in exchange we get a cut of the of the revenue as the game starts to be successful.

Chris - Do you have to have any kind of track records to get some kind of funding from Jagex because obviously you know it helps if you can trust the fact that somebody would give you money kind of knows vaguely what they're doing.

Julia - Yeah I think because we are looking for such a long term partnership which I have called several times in conversations to developers a marriage. So just going to keep it going you know feet first. We definitely need to understand that you know that the plan going forward is commercially sound and that there is experience when you're making a game of of you know the scale that is multiplayer and sometimes with you know hundreds and hundreds of players in the same world. That takes a lot of time to develop and sometimes quite a large budget.

Chris - Obviously when you're going around looking for you know new productions of games in a new companies even that are forming and your kind of thinking right going to help you out. Do you ever come up against other companies who are doing similar things to you is there ever like a bidding war against what could potentially be the next Minecraft do you both sort of find yourself going. I want to make sure that we get hold of this game kind of thing.

Julia - There is a lot more collaboration in the games industry across companies than maybe one would think in the sense that if there is a game that is definitely just not a portfolio fit for us let's say it's a really good single play a game that is narrative based then you know we will we will pass it on to other contacts in our network that are interested and vice versa. And then I think the other side of that is sometimes there can be a lot of interest around the single title. But the way that works usually is that we never really find out from from competitors or you know from people who are closer to what we're targeting. It will just be developers saying like “oh we've had interest from this person that person and that person” and to be honest that makes me quite happy when they say that it does. It does create more of a sense of urgency for us for sure but it makes me quite you know I'm already proud of them in the sense that you know it's hard to to quote make it so when one they've had all this interest in a way it's the emotional responsibility is slightly less.

Chris - Is it something that you would accept submissions over or is it very much that you need to be excited by something and then approach that project itself like let's say you know you get 100 e-mails and says “oh why don't you look at my game” I'm imagining that you know you don't have the resources to do that, let alone the time.

Julia - I mean right now we are doing that. I think you know we are trying to get the word out because there are so many different markets and networks that you know I feel like they can never really be enough people who hear about our new Jagex partners publishing program. So we have we do have like on our website we have a partners mailbox. So it's just partners at Jagex dot com. So we accept submissions in that way.



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