GDC Europe, Richard Garriott said that the industry is rapidly moving away from MMOs as we know them and toward mobile and social gaming -- and that companies need to hop on board, lest they be left behind.
Garriott used his iPhone as an example of this new direction: "I am now much more of a gamer than I ever been in my whole life, but the vast majority of the gaming I have played has been on this machine. I'm a devout believer that this is the current and near-term future of games."
He defines this "new era" of gaming by having cheap games that are simple to use and connect you with real-world friends. While he thinks earlier social games like FarmVille were too simple and unappealing, Garriott says that they're evolving quickly.
During the speech, Garriott expressed regret that his team didn't stick by the original vision for Tabula Rasa, and he urged fellow developers not to trade in their dreams in order to follow the company line. His new company Portalarium plans to "reinvent roleplaying yet again" by releasing a series of products that will capitalize on social gaming and retrain players to think beyond mere combat to a wider experience.