How Will RuneScape Mobile Impact the MMO Industry?

By Jeff Francis
How will RuneScape Mobile impact mmos?

RuneScape has long been the most popular browser mmo on the market. Millions of players have spent countless hours playing the online game ever since it launched way back in 2001. The game's developer, Jagex, has kept the game relevant over the years by upgrading the game periodically but have also kept their original fans happy by launching Old School RuneScape. A lot of players and developers look at RuneScape as one of the old dogs of the online gaming industry, but Jagex has shown that you can teach an old dog some new tricks. When Jagex announced the upcoming launch of both RuneScape Mobile and Old School Mobile a few weeks ago, it sent some shockwaves through the online gaming community. How will RuneScape Mobile impact the mmo industry?

The announcement of RuneScape Mobile is exciting as there very few quality mmo games on the mobile market. Now one of the best overall games with tons of content is making the leap to mobile devices. The best feature of RuneScape Mobile is that it will have true cross-platform play. Gamers will be able to play their characters on the desktop, tablet, or smart phone and fully interact with players from other devices. A number of other online games have been released on multiple platforms, but they do not feature true cross-platform play. Now Jagex is showing everybody else how it should be done.

What will the true RuneScape Mobile impact on mmo games be? To be truthful, there are some consequences that we can foresee. The first is that players should expect a true mmo experience on their mobile device for the first time ever. Right now, most mobile games are simple puzzle games, sims, or strategy games. RuneScape is a truly immersive mmo, and it's release on mobile devices will show that mobile gamers should not have to settle for less. Why play a game of zapping rows of gems or candy when you go on adventures in a game that has sixteen full years of content to wade through? I don't know about you, but going on epic quests with friends and fighting powerful monsters is way better than waiting for a base building to upgrade or another round of feeding cows in a farming sim.

Another potential RuneScape Mobile impact is that it could breathe new life into older games. While some titles have been working to update their systems and graphics for a new generation of PC players, it might be possible to convert them into a mobile format more easily and at less cost due to their older, and simpler, structures. The fact that Jagex is working on releasing Old School Mobile shows that they believe that there is potential revenue in keeping older players happy. It's never wise to turn your nose up at any potential revenue stream. Mobile game players do not expect the latest and greatest graphics, so older games need not have to spend a lot of money on upgrading their visuals. Plus, putting RuneScape on multiple devices that can freely play with each other will greatly expand the community. Every single person loves convenience, and RuneScape Mobile and Old School Mobile are offering true online gaming convenience. Need to run to the store or to school but want to keep playing? Then log off your desktop and fire up your tablet when you get on the bus. The gaming should never have to end.

The biggest Runescape Mobile impact that I can think of is that it will lead more game companies to truly develop cross-platform play with their current or new titles. As technology gets better, more and more players are going to be gaming on mobile devices and not on desktop computers. Still, the old PC will be a force to reckon with for a long time to come. Game companies have spent the last couple of years saying that it was too hard or impossible to provide true cross-platform play for their games. It now appears that Jagex has said that's utter bull because they did it with RuneScape (which you can play for free here). If the gameplay of RuneScape Mobile is pretty seamless across its multiple platforms, then that puts a lot of pressure on other companies to follow suit. While Jagex has been around for a very long time, they're still dwarfed by companies such as Blizzard and Riot Games. If Jagex could develop an mmo that's capable of true cross-platform play with their resources, then why can't the big boys?

Overall, I think the true RuneScape Mobile impact on mmo games will be quite pronounced over the long haul. Its launch may not be celebrated that much when it happens, but it could definitely lead to some fundamental changes over time. Players will now know that true mmo gaming is possible on mobile devices and that there shouldn't be any true barrier to cross-platform play. The larger game companies will have no excuses for why they haven't done something similar with their games as their resources far outstrip that of Jagex. It's quite likely that the launch of RuneScape Mobile will be a pretty good-sized milestone in the annals of online gaming.


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