Jagex has acquired Pipeworks Studios, making this the first major investment in the RuneScape developer’s 23-year history. The cost of the acquisition has not been confirmed but it likely wasn’t cheap. The Sumo Group previously acquired Pipeworks Studios in 2020 for $100 million.
Pipeworks Studios is a developer based in Eugene, Oregon best known for co-development. The developer has experience with bringing games to other platforms, with it being responsible for porting Terraria to various consoles.
The acquisition of Pipeworks Studios is a bold change in approach for Jagex. As a developer, it has always focused on maintaining RuneScape above all else. Jagex has made some efforts in the past to expand, but these have all fallen short. None were as daring as this, though.
Jagex CEO Phil Mansell is clearly excited about the move. He describes the acquisition as an “incredible opportunity to bring onboard world-class game development talent.” Mansell also highlights how Pipework Studios’ skill set is suitable for creating “AAA games-as-a-service,” potentially providing some insight into Jagex’s intentions.
The exact role that Pipeworks Studios will play is currently unclear. What is clear, though, is that this is a huge acquisition for a company of Jagex’s size. Previous to this, Jagex was thought to employ around 350 employees. The acquisition of Pipeworks Studios will bring that up to 550, a near 60% increase in manpower.
A new age
Leading up to this acquisition of Pipeworks Studios, Jagex has had a tough time when it comes to expanding. Outside of RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, it has effectively had zero successful projects. Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, Transformers Universe, and Stellar Dawn all either shut down shortly after release or were canceled. Perhaps now that the studio employs a larger workforce it can once again try creating something new and ambitious.