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Ad Watch 7/17/2006 3:51:51 PM
WildTangent Explores RuneScape

Last week Jagex, creators of the MMO RuneScape, signed a deal with downloadable games publisher Wild Tangent, making Wild Tangent "their marketing and exclusive premium advertising sales partner in the US." Dave Madden, Wild Tangent's executive VP, tells us why this deal is such a great catch for his company and what it means for Runescape.

Haven't heard of RuneScape? If not, you might be out of touch with the hottest MMO property out there. Don't believe it? Using Google Trends as the medium of comparison, the search volume for RuneScape outpaces EverQuest and even World of Warcraft.

The proof, however, is in the pudding and RuneScape and its creators Jagex have proof to back that up as well. Roughly 800,000 subscribers pay the $5 dollar a month subscription fee. Additionally, more than 9 million are trying out RuneScape for free. With this number of ad supported free subscriptions, it's enough to make any marketer lick their chops.

It's because of these reasons that it's surprising that, only on July 13, did Jagex sign an exclusive marketing and distribution contract with WildTangent. We sat down with Dave Madden, executive vice-president of WildTangent Games, and talked about the nature of the deal, what it means for both companies, and what it will do for RuneScape.

The Deal

The agreement in question lets WildTangent deal with advertising in and around RuneScape. Additionally, it will allow WildTangent to distribute RuneScape through the WildTangent Games Network. This will help the game gain more exposure via the over 20 million consumer PCs that the distribution channel is installed on.

["Advertisers buy into games based on the demographic and psychographic. They look at reach (RuneScape's 5 million users in the U.S., mostly 14- 24) and that sells very well on Madison Ave."]

"RuneScape is not just a game. It's an iconic element of youth culture," said Alex St John, CEO of WildTangent. "We're thrilled to be able to offer this legendary game content to our consumers, and we look forward to helping advertisers to gain relevancy with its awesome fanbase."

"We are pleased to announce this partnership with WildTangent," added Constant Tedder, Managing Director of Jagex, the developer and publisher of RuneScape. "They have a long track record of delivering successful gaming campaigns for major advertisers in the US, and as a fellow game publisher we trust that they will protect the integrity of our game while enabling advertisers to effectively reach our valuable audience. WildTangent also enables us to market RuneScape on the desktops over 60% of consumer PCs in the US, which I suspect will grow our market share considerably."

"We've been paying attention to RuneScape for a few years. They're doing what we started with in Java games. Now we're working with other companies like that as a game network that distributes with partners like Dell and Toshiba," said Madden. "We have a huge respect for the largest MMO audience online (check out the fan created wikipedia site). The game is a casual MMO, so you don't have to be a core gamer to enjoy it. This appeals to 12-24 year-olds that make up the vast majority of RuneScape users. The game currently has 9 million players and 800,000 subscribers and is growing rapidly. Version 2.1 launched recently, and soon afterwards, 50,000 new subscribers signed up. The game has had a recorded peak of 202,000 players on at the same time, though usually the number is somewhere around 100,000."

by David Radd

Comments or questions? Send them to editor@gamedaily.com

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Courtesy of The NPD Group
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