Lord British Seeks New Worlds to Conquer - Again

I spoke with Richard Garriott, the creator of immortal games such as Ultima and Ultima Online, and the more recent Tabula Rasa, recently and he pointed me to the website of his new startup venture, Portalarium (www.portalarium.com). Along with four of his buddies from Origin and NCSoft he has started this new studio to bring "Premium Games to the Social Web". He stated that it will be as much as a year before we see the first solid product of this collaboration, although some parts of it are slated to be "out there" by the end of this year. Lord British has made his mark several times over by re-inventing gaming. I can only assume that this adventure will be no different. This is a company to keep an eye on.


Is "Social Gaming" Threatening the MMO Industry?

Have you played Farmville yet? Judging by its popularity—which includes a player base of 69 million people, according to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg—it's a safe bet that at least some of ZAM's readers have tried it out. As Zuckerberg noted, more people play Farmville than those who use Twitter, let alone Blizzard's world-dominating MMO, World of Warcraft, with 11.5 million players.

As many bloggers have pointed out, if Farmville was an honest-to-goodness MMO instead of a Facebook app, it would have WoW's player base beat by almost a 6:1 ratio. However, can Farmville and other "social games" like Mafia Wars—developed by the industry-leading Zynga—really be compared with what most gamers consider "true" MMOs like EverQuest, WoW and Final Fantasy XI? It's an issue that's inspired occasional debates in our own forums from time to time; many MMO players consider social gaming a passing fad that owes its recent popularity to mind-numbing simplicity. On the other hand, it's difficult to ignore the sheer success of the genre, and wonder if this new gaming platform might change the face of the MMO industry as we know it.

Lord British Laments on Tabula Rasa

Richard Garriott, Lord British himself, has recently given an interview to GameDaily. He discusses having lost the massively-multiplayer battle, and even offers a bit of conjecture as to where he went wrong.

“But I'm also not what I'll call terribly surprised, either, that the company would choose this path. I think NCsoft looks at it as an opportunity cost issue -- where they put those resources and people on that, or something new. They chose something new.”

He gave it the old college try, we can all agree to that. Now whether or not Tabula Rasa was, indeed, a “winner” is up for debate. Regardless, we are sad to see it go, and hope Lord British continues onward, in haste and in good style.

Source: GameDaily