Runescape developer Jagex has acquired U.S. game studio Pipeworks for an undisclosed fee.
The move is Jagex's first ever acquisition of an external studio and will allow the company to bolster its production capabilities and leverage growth opportunities in North America. Jagex noted the deal comes after five years of record growth, which saw Runescape membership hit an all-time peak.
Under the Jagex banner, Pipeworks will continue its model of developing and co-developing games in tandem with publishing partners and clients around the world.
The Oregon-based studio currently has over 200 employees and has shipped over 125 titles to-date, working with notable partners including Activision, EA Sports, and Wizards of the Coast.
Jagex chief exec Phil Mansell said the acquisition presented an "incredible opportunity" to unite the Runescape developer with "world-class game development talent."
"The studio brings elite-level game development expertise, specifically in triple-A games-as-a-service, with an exemplary track record of collaborations with the world’s best game creators," continued Mansell.
"Lindsay (CEO of Pipeworks) and his team have been running a successful and profitable group for many years, and we look forward to working together to publish Pipeworks’ developed IP and accelerate its growth."
The news comes less than two years after Jagex was acquired by global investment company The Carlyle Group for an undisclosed fee, which marked the third time the studio had changed hands in five years.
At the time, The Carlyle Group said it wanted to help Jagex evolve the "core Runescape franchise" by investing in R&D and producing more new content.
Michael Wand, managing director and co-head of the Carlyle Europe Technology Partners advisory team, had indicated the Pipeworks deal is part of that growth plan.
"In January 2021, Carlyle acquired Jagex to support the next phase of the company’s growth, including maintaining a focus on its core Runescape franchise while further diversifying the business and its portfolio," said Wand. "The acquisition of Pipeworks is in line with this strategy, and we are delighted to support Jagex with this transaction."