Game Development Reference
Interview with Richard Garriott: The Three Grand
Eras of Gaming—cont'd
Internet or app store and pay somewhere between zero and an impulse
purchase price. That is the main functional difference. The game feature
main differences are instead of going through a complex install and com-
plex instructions, you auto-install without any concern. I do not know any
of these games that have instructions. They teach you through an in-game
tutorial without any other form of instructions.
The final kicker is that although the MMO era determined that
playing with anyone online (including strangers you meet) was far
more compelling than playing alone, in this new social era, the people
you are connected to are not strangers when you bump into them
online, which was already pretty damn compelling. These are the peo-
ple you already have a relationship in the real world. They are the
people with whom you go to the movies, the people with whom you
have dinner, and some are people whom you might have met in an
MMO. The point is these are people you already built a relationship
with and therefore about whom you care a lot more about sharing
and tracking. Sharing what you do and tracking what they do and
maybe interacting in real time.
The last thing that I would throw in there about this new era that is
really compelling is the discovery of the power of asynchronous game fea-
tures. In the MMO era, for us to play together, we had to always be online
at the same time. The great new feature discovered during this new era in
my mind is the way to let us give each other benefit without necessarily
having to be online at precisely the same time. If I need some help on my
farm, I can send you a request for help. If I see you have been asking me
for help, I can lob over the fence to your farm the help you need. When
you log back on, you will have seen my help and provide me my help for
the next time I login.
The result of not having to pay retail, not having to go to a store and
pay any large amount of money up front, the fact that it's on the app
store for free or an impulse purchase, the fact that it has no install or
instructions, combine that with the asynchronous feature set to augment
what other features it has, the result of that is that the scale of the mar-
ket has yet again grown ten times over. We are only two or three years
into it and the top-selling games are about to cross 100 million users.
That is generally going to continue to grow, and now—most important—
we have men and women of all ages and of all walks of life playing.