UK developer Jagex has revealed that it planned to bring its long-running free-to-play MMO, Runescape, to all gaming devices. However, the major console manufacturers aren't ready to let their communities play together, and Jagex isn't interested in releasing a versions of the game that will lead to isolated sub-communities.
"We're not going to frame our community into boxes just for a few million more customers," Jagex's Mark Gerhard said.
Runescape's free-to-play model was the first initial hurdle for console manufacturers, but according to Gerhard in a recent interview with Develop, in the end "all three said, 'okay, but, we won’t let our console play online with any other.'"
For Jagex, cross-platform play in Runescape appears to be a non-negotiable. When Microsoft and Sony made it clear that neither wanted to allow their communities to intermingle, Jagex decided that fracturing the game's community was a deal-breaker. "Of course I'd love a few million more customers, but I just wouldn't do it," Gerhard noted. "Not at the expense of fracturing it, because you almost become the disease you're trying to solve."
While Runescape may be on hold for consoles at the moment, Gerhard predicts that Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will eventually relax their positions regarding cross-console play, pointing to the uncertain future of the boxed-retail market in the face of a growing digital distribution landscape. "It's just a matter of time," he posited.