Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

E308: The future of FunOrb

Michael Zenke

Alongside a number of insights into the new Runescape HD release and tantalizing hints at the upcoming Mechscape, our discussion with Jagex yesterday morning yielded a few tibits about FunOrb. Jagex's under-the-radar casual games offering is built on the same technology as Runescape, implying some interesting things about the company's future plans. We spoke with Geoff Iddison and developer Henrique Olifiers about the project, and came away with some interesting viewpoints on Jagex's future development plans. Read on below the cut for hints at how casual gaming and browser-based RPG fun might combine into a new (and delicious) whole.

FunOrb is really about providing a 'casual' gaming experience for players who want something more engaging, deeper. They referred to them as 'hardcore casual' games. They're for the time-pressed serious gamer, free to play games with more compelling content. Just as the Runescape team offers new content every two weeks, so too is a new game added to FunOrb at the same pace. The service now offers 25 games, while it originally launched with just 18. Most players on the site average between 12 and 40 hours of weekly playtime, indicating dedicated and serious players. It's already out in English and German, with additional languages planned.

"It's offering new experiences to a market that's not be addressed," says Iddison. "There's a mini-game vacuum, and we're working quickly to fill that." Casual games shouldn't be games you only want to play once, they argue. They should be titles that you can jump into and out of over the course of an evening, with your session existing persistently online.

With all three of Jagex's offerings built on the same fundamental technology, the obvious question is whether we'll see mini-games in their MMO products. Says Iddison, "It's happening. We can't tell you what the game is going to be, but there will be a game on FunOrb aimed at Runescape players. That's going to see more of that kind of crossover happening in the future."

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr