Richard Garriott and the choppy waters of social gaming

The term "social games" or its frequently-used cousin "Facebook games" is one that gets talked about a lot by MMO gamers these days. Specifically, it gets talked about in a similar tone to the UbiSoft DRM nightmare or the entire Infinity Ward fiasco. So it's going to turn some heads -- and raise some hackles -- when Richard Garriott moves into the social gaming scene. Creator of the genre-setting Ultima Online and the much-discussed Tabula Rasa, Garriott has explained in an interview with Gamasutra why he made the shift and what he thinks of the social gaming scene as it stands now.

In short, he sees in social and mobile games the same things that marked other major shifts in the overall philosophy of making games, making them the next big wave. It's not an uncommon sentiment, but he goes on to point out that many of the virtues these games have, such as no installation and no up-front cost, are desirable traits in any game. He goes on to discuss stories in games and how he thinks that even social games can have them, even as he advocates less emphasis on freeform player-generated narratives. Take a look at the full interview to get a clearer picture on what we can expect from Garriott next -- and considering his place in the field of MMOs, it should be notable.