Richard Garriott to Keynote GDC Europe

GDC Europe sent out a press release this morning announcing that Ultima creator Richard Garriott is set to deliver a keynote address at this year's event in August.  His primary topic will be the push to social gaming, but you can bet there will be some Ultima and Tabula Rasa discussion mixed in there:
Legendary Ultima Series developer Richard Garriott to keynote 2011 Game Developers Conference Europe

Industry Mogul to Discuss Why the Current Era of Social and Casual Game Development is the Most Crucial

BERLIN June 15, 2011 Richard Garriott, legendary creator of the genre-defining Ultima series and founder of social media games developer and publisher Portalarium, will give a keynote address at the 2011 Game Developers Conferenceâ„¢ Europe (GDC Europe). The keynote, titled (The Three Eras of Gaming and Why This One is a Game Changer,) will provide attendees with special insight into the current era of social and casual games, and will discuss whether or not traditional development can and should make that transition to this new mode of interactive entertainment. GDC Europe 2011, presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, brings the pan-European game development community's premiere forum for learning, networking and inspiration back to the Congress-Centrum Ost in Cologne, Germany August 15-17, 2011.

Richard Garriott has had a long and fruitful career in game development, beginning in 1980 as a designer and programmer on Akalabeth: World of Doom. In 1983, Garriott and his brother established Origin Systems, Inc., then later sold the company to Electronic Arts in 1992 after several years of success.  Origin was recognized as one of the innovation leaders in the ever-changing world of entertainment software and responsible for the groundbreaking series of Ultima role playing games. Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness, is considered the genesis of a series of seminal, defining games within the RPG genre. Following their success on Ultimas I-IX, Garriott and his team went on to create another groundbreaking title within the Ultima franchise, Ultima Online (1997), which became the world's first commercially successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and which continues to be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of players the world over.

Garriott retired from Electronic Arts in 2000 to form Destination Games and then almost immediately sold Destination Games to Korean gaming giant, NCsoft. He then proceeded to grow NCsoft into a major MMO studio group and publisher.  Most recently, Garriott formed Portalarium, a social media games developer he helped found in 2009, where he currently serves as vice president and creative director. Over the course of his career, Garriott has won numerous awards for his contributions to the game development community, including being named Entrepreneur of the Year from Inc. magazine, being listed among Computer Gaming World's 15 Most Influential Industry Players and receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2006. Garriott also made national headlines in 2008 for realizing his lifelong dream in space travel, when he launched aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft to the International Space Station in 2008.

(There are few developers with Richard Garriott's history, pedigree and vantage point, having been a defining force in the realm of traditional hardcore games, birthing the RPG and MMORPG genres, to now helping lead the way within the world of social games,)  said Frank Sliwka, Vice President of European Business Development and Event Director GDC Europe. (His participation in GDC Europe shows that a legend such as Garriott finds great value in addressing our pan-European game development attendees, and that he recognizes that GDC Europe is the essential platform and epicenter for discussions relevant to that community.)

GDC Europe takes place August 15-17, 2011; for more information on the Richard Garriott keynote or GDC Europe, visit