Richard Garriott Interview

Not satisfied with just one chat the folks at Gamasutra took the change to talk again with Richard Garriott, the themes being the impact on casual and social gaming on the industry and his recently announced keynote for GDC Europe 2011. In the article/interview "Lord British" explains what he considers the "three eras of games", and why he considers the current times, the era of social/casual gaming. Whether you agree or disagree with his views, it's still a worthy read. Here's a sampling:
"The first [era] I'll describe as 'solo-player' games," Garriot explained, "with the obvious attribute that you play solo, but with the important other attribute that in that first era -- which I'll call the '80s and '90s -- you would buy your games at retail. You drive to the store, pay 50 bucks, take it home, install it on your computer, and then play it."

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.