Starts new game company with some old friends
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.
Currently, the website is heavy on Corporate Mission statements and Hiring notices but a little light on any hint as to just what these new games will be. There is, however, a good bit about the Portalarium Player, a browser plugin that enables "more powerful graphics and better performance than 2D Flash-based browser games." This player, and the code library to support it, is being given for FREE (as in beer) to the development community as part of their commitment to the OpenPlay movement.
Also, the first two products to use the Portalarium Player are mentioned: CenterPort is an MMO-style central social hub that will integrate to all of the MMO offerings in this new system, slated for release in late-2010 via FaceBook and similar sites, and PortCasino, a casino-style area attached directly to CenterPort. The first available game in the casino will be called "Sweet @$! Poker" (edit: which is now online and playable).
Sounds like Lord British and his Knights are set to conquer many more dragons in the years to come. We can't wait to see it.