On October 30, 2018, Jagex launched OSRS Mobile. It’s all of Gielinor right at the palm of your hand. To add the proverbial cherry on top, you could even use your PC account to log into the app! You don’t have to create a new account from scratch! Players were allowed to move from PC to mobile device and vice versa seamlessly, farm OSRS gold, continue skilling on the go or you can get it at PlayerAuctions. The possibilities are endless. It also means that you’ll be able to play with your friends even without matching devices!
With this exciting development, there was a boom of new players playing on mobile. After all, you didn’t really need a PC to play Old School RuneScape anymore. Granted, you don’t need a high-end PC to play OSRS, but computers are quite expensive. They cost more than consoles and phones, at any rate!
Android vs Apple
In this day and age, you’ll rarely find someone who doesn’t own a phone. These devices come in many shapes and sizes and come in two flavors. The two flavors are Android and Apple iOS. Sure, there are more than these two phone operating systems. However, they are in the same family as Android, letting them use the Google Play Store as well.
With that logic, Android dominates the mobile device market. Brands such as Samsung, Sony, LG, and more make phones that run on that OS. How can one single brand, Apple, compete with that?
Yet, the brand carries its own significance. Owning an Apple device is a status symbol of sorts. It speaks of luxury and aesthetics, at least in countries where it isn’t common to have one. America, Canada, and Australia’s citizens mostly use Apple products.
Then there’s also the existence of tablets. The midpoint of a computer and a phone, it trades processing power for portability. They’re bigger than phones and are smaller and lighter than a laptop. Though some of the latter can function as a tablet, true tablets are still more common. They’re cheaper than full-blown laptops and can do all the basics of one.
Like phones, there are Android tablets and Apple tablets. The difference is that not all of those who own phones have tablets. Generally, though, people tend to get matching OS for both devices. The opposite can happen, but it’s rare.
Why Does That Matter for OSRS?
Sure, Jagex could’ve released OSRS Mobile only on Android. That would give them a wide reach, even without touching the population that uses iOS. However, that alienates those who are on iPhones. If in a group of friends all have Android phones except one who has an iPhone, that solitary friend will inevitably be left out.
So it’s a good thing OSRS Mobile is available on both platforms. That gives the app the widest availability to reach the most people at once.
Another good thing about it is that the majority of OSRS players are in America. They risk alienating their veteran players if they release the app on Android only. Besides, the players would complain and would ask for an iOS release otherwise. Jagex understands its audience very well.
Boosting the Playerbase
Combining all the facts above, it’s no wonder player count jumped when the app was released. The game became accessible to those who were previously outside its reach. If you check out the history of the active player population of Old School RS, you’ll see a jump in numbers near the end of 2018. It coincides with the release of the app.
Veteran players can now farm, level, hunt bosses, and do quests outside their homes. Availability for raids became more open. With a data connection, they never have to leave Gielinor even while traveling or commuting. They were even able to convince friends or family to join them, now that they can do so through their phones.
Then, just over a year later, the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Governments recommended their citizens to stay at home. This created another jump in player count as people turned to video games to spend their time. OSRS Mobile contributed, as households without a PC could still access the game through phones and other mobile devices.
Some Insight to OSRS’s Success
OSRS Mobile is a testament to the continuing popularity of the game. It adapted to the times instead of fading into obscurity. Despite being an updated re-release of a 2007 build of RuneScape, it manages to keep going strong. That’s a lot of love for a thirteen-year-old build. Well, technically, the game itself is only seven years old, but we’re counting from the source build’s year of origin.
What’s more, it contributes to more than 50% of total RuneScape players. Can you believe it? The older version of the game is more popular than the more beautifully rendered current version of the game. While accounts and membership can be used between the two, the majority chooses to play OSRS.
That’s a lesson MMOs should learn. Staying true to its brand doesn’t mean ‘never change’. They should adapt to the times and learn how to roll with the punches. Another likely factor in OSRS’s popularity is letting players have an influence on the content of the game.
Every once in awhile, there will be a poll about the next update of the game. Players vote on what they want to see next. Because of that system, the developers only have to deliver or fix up that content. They don’t have to guess and scramble to fix things if they guessed wrong.
At any rate, that’s how OSRS Mobile herded a whole new crowd of first-time players into Gielinor. While the game isn’t anywhere near discontinuation, it’s still a heartening sight to see player numbers rise. For the players, that’s more potential friends to make and journey with. For the developers, that’s more potential revenue. It’s a win-win for everyone, and it’s all because of OSRS Mobile.
So adventure through Gielinor to your heart’s content. Danger, adventure, and more OSRS gold than you can count await!
Keep enjoying OSRS—whether on PC or mobile!