RuneScape studio Jagex has been sold for the third time in six years against the backdrop of a… RICO lawsuit?

    
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We’re going to play a fun new game today. It’s called Who Owns Jagex Now!

As we chronicled last summer, RuneScape studio Jagex’s ownership became a bizarre mystery in 2019 and 2020. It was sold to a Chinese mining company in 2016, then to a new holding company in 2019, which Jagex initially denied but then later confirmed, but then a creditor of the original owner contested the sale and waded in with a lawsuit trying to stop the sale. It was, as MOP’s own Lawful Neutral argued, a convoluted mess.

Maybe today’s announcement will set things aright, as Jagex revealed that it’s been acquired by investment firm The Carlyle Group. “Carlyle will leverage its global network, expertise and resources to support Jagex as it continues to drive growth by evolving the core RuneScape franchise through investment in R&D and increased content release rates, as well as launching new titles to diversify its portfolio and engage with an even wider community of players.” Yeah, one of those.

Worth noting is that Jagex actually counted 1.2M subscribers last year on top of “further millions” of F2P players – spectacular numbers for an MMO right now. It’s still promising mobile launches as well as in-progress online games, the first of which is slated for publishing this year. And in other RuneScape news, the game’s 20th anniversary celebrations continue this week with the new Foreshadowing miniquest and skilling XP bonuses.

Source: Press release, official site
Update
Apparently the mystery is only deepening and in fact we still don’t know who owns Jagex. As MMO Fallout reported this morning, there’s another fresh lawsuit filed against Jagex, its new owners, Huarong Trust, and Shanghai Hongtu, which was the company that bought it back in 2016 and sold it in 2019/2020. The plaintiff is Plutos Sama Holdings, Inc., and it claims that in fact it owns Jagex, that it won the auction to buy Jagex from Shanghai Fukong back in 2019, and that the 2019/2020 sale of the company (to US Platinum Fortune) was part of an elaborate money-laundering scheme complete with RICO violations. (If you were one of the commenters who joked about this last time, feel vindicated right now.) The above-described convoluted mess continues.
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Bruno Brito

“It’s not RICO.” – Popehat

Leyaa
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Leyaa

How are the devs supposed to work peacefully when ownership (and with it ideals and agendas) changes ever so often?! Must be a mess at Jagex.

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elenie

How is this even a thing, and more than once with Jagex? Having multiple companies sue because they think they bought the same studio seems like a giant red flag… (And here I was thinking it was weird they were being sold to a mining company way back when :-) )
Hope you can write another Lawful Neutral on this, assuming there is enough information to get some idea of what’s going on.

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Adam Russell

This story sounds alot like EQ and Columbus Nova, only moreso.

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SmiteDoctor

Aw man, RICO wonder if they look in the game files they’ll find evidence of human trafficking across State lines, character transfers getting subpoenad!!!

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Kanbe

This is all I can think about when reading the update.

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Scorp Gang

It’s no wonder it keeps changing hands like Drug Money..

Leo
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Leo

But like, which of these companies is getting the money at the end of the day? Who has the shares in their name? Is the company just sold to others on a contract you sign in crayon?

Chronic Enigma
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Chronic Enigma

If I remember correctly. The Carlyle Group bought some shares of Star Citizen a year back. It seems this company is trying to get into gaming.

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Scorp Gang

Really? Hmm Iremember that name and it wasn’t for good reasons.

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Greaterdivinity

Lawsuit, eh?

This is sure weird. Jagex is like, the company a lot of folks want to buy but nobody seems to want to own >.>