Richard Garriott to Keynote GDC Europe, Speaks with Gamasutra

Richard Garriott has been making the news a lot recently, with his talk about the three eras of gaming, his views on social gaming, and his future plans.

He’s going to be the keynote speaker at GDC Europe 2011, which takes place in August in Cologne, Germany. He will be giving his talk entitled “The Three Eras of Gaming and Why This One is a Game Changer” which he has given before, and which is currently driving his gaming plans.

Next up, he spoke with Gamasutra, where Ultima Online was mentioned yet again:

Garriott recalled that the current state of social games reminds him of initial reactions to his classic Ultima Online, which was among the first titles to break into the MMO space. “People, even in our own company, were heavily critical of the game, right up until just before its release when the wave of pre-orders came in at a rate that was hard to ignore,” he said. Today, Garriott sees a similar trend with the reaction toward social and casual games.

He believes we are moving away from MMOs and towards games that offer greater accessibility while lowering the cost.

Garriott defines the second era of gaming as that of the “massively multiplayer game,” which introduced the concept of playing with an community of users, but still held on to some of the limitations of a traditional boxed product.

“That era still required that you go to the store, you pay 50 dollars, you return home, and then before you play it you subscribe to it for an additional 15 or so dollars per month,” he said. “These massively multiplayer games are also generally more complicated; they take longer to get into.”

He believes we have entered into the third era of gaming with the rise of social, casual, and mobile games, as these sorts of titles offer several advantages over traditional single player and MMO titles.

Garriott said with casual or social games, players can more easily access titles they might be interested in. “You remove the barrier of driving to the store, and you also remove the barrier of a significant up-front investment,” he explained, noting that these games are most often available via download either for free or for a very low price.

He has mentioned all of this before, but it’s still interesting nonetheless, and is yet another mention of Ultima Online in the mainstream gaming media.

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