Richard Garriott Defeats NCSoft In Battle

By John Walker on October 26th, 2011 at 2:01 pm.

Why do I waste so much of my precious time?

You may remember that Richard “I Wish I Were Still Lord British” Garriott de Cayeux was suing NCSoft for fifty gajillion dollars. Well, he’s won.

Garriott de Cayeux, who lives in a castle orbiting 1200ft above the Earth, brought the claims against the MMO publisher after they had something of a difference of opinion over his contract. He claimed that NCSoft had pretended he’d voluntarily left the company, shortly after his visit to the International Space Station (no, really), which meant he had to sell off all his shares extra-early. This cost him more money than you or I will ever see in our lives, and he wanted it back.

Garriott de Cayeux had been at NCSoft making the ill-fated (because it wasn’t very good) Tabula Rasa, before his trip into space. On return in November 2008 he told fans,

“Many of you probably wonder what my plans are, now that I have achieved the lifelong dream of going to space. Well, that unforgettable experience has sparked some new interests that I would like to devote my time and resources to. As such, I am leaving NCsoft to pursue those interests.”

Which did sound awfully volunteery. But seemingly not. Around six months later, Mr British claimed that he’d been forced out of the company, and that the MMO giant had “re-characterised” the nature of his leaving. The apparent reason: if he left of his own volition, his shares would have to be sold almost straight away, rather than nearly three years later. Something he said cost him all that money he sued for. 27 million dollars, in fact.

He won, but NCSoft protested, and it went to the 5th Space Circuit Court of Appeals, who have just upheld the judgment, adding on a bonus $4m because of his lovely beard. And costs.

So multimillionaire Richard Garriott de Cayeux now has another $32m. Meanwhile, the people of Burundi live on $82 per year.

[Via GI.biz]

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181 Comments »

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  1. Fwiffo says:

    Soon the castle’s death ray will be complete.

    • Tuor says:

      Ha! Soon he will reveal his *fully operational* battle station!

      (And no, we cannot stand up to firepower of that magnitude.)

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I fully expect to see a mad scientist “Doctor British” character in his next game.

    • Dozer says:

      Unfortunately as it’s orbiting 1200ft above the Earth the battle-station fell victim to a small hill and is now a static installation.

    • MadMatty says:

      Tabula Rasa wasnt bad, was a FPS MMO with most of the “new” features you see in Rift. It was a bit samey at a point, but when i tried to get back into it after a ew months i found out that theyve closed down ops :/

  2. Jams O'Donnell says:

    Maybe now he won’t have to sell his house.

    • kukouri says:

      That’s just the ground base for the orbiting space castle.

    • Froibo says:

      It’s just asking to be seiged.. who’s in?

      Edit: I am no master of hypertext apparently :(

      http://mls-photos.diversesolutions.com/394/6720025/3-full.jpg

    • Premium User Badge

      ordteapot says:

      There was an amusing news story a while back, wherein some people here broke into his house…to just hang out and amiably drink his booze.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Holy shit that is monsterous. Can I sue for emotional distress?

    • Froibo says:

      “In 1997 the house was broken into by a deranged fan. Garriott held him off with an Uzi, firing a warning shot while waiting for police to arrive.”

      This kind of makes me want to do it more.

      http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/120/do-you-want-to-play.html

    • Premium User Badge

      Chaz says:

      Why is it that being a millionaire seems to be synonomous with having bad taste?

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      It is not that rich people have worse taste than the rest of us, it is that they have a significantly higher capability of expressing that taste.

    • Silphatos says:

      @Froibo He should have forgotten where he put his +15 Katana of Vanquishing. damn!

    • OtioseNexus says:

      That place is so gaudy it offends my British sensibilities..

    • Potentaint says:

      That’s one of the ugliest and least “Homely” feeling houses I’ve ever seen. The outside architecture is ugly, the inside architecture is ugly. You could honestly have a much better house than that for $4 mil. That place will probably sell for half that if not less.

    • Loli Catgirl says:

      That one you linked’s his old house from the 80’s if I recall. He’s been building a new castle for a while, complete with stone towers and underground secret passages and stuff, there’s some articles and pictures of it in construction if you poke about.

    • scatterbrainless says:

      Actually, the wealthy have great taste. They just choose not to express it in order to spite the poor

  3. Javier-de-Ass says:

    how much do you live on per year john? do you live in burundi? :(

    • John Walker says:

      No, I’m very lucky that I don’t live in Burundi. I live on under $32m a year.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      In all fairness, you shouldn’t feel sorry for the people of Burundi. They spend that 82 dollars a year entirely on crack.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      That won’t buy very much crack.

      Now I feel sorry for them.

    • Mirqy says:

      82 dollars per year for the people in Burundi? There must be a few million people living there, so that doesn’t come to very much per person. :(

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Heh, my inner pedant picked that typo up too mirqy.

      On a more serious note, it genuinely is hypocrisy to bemoan a single rich person for not giving more money away to needy people without doing so yourself. I’m sure the people of Burundi would curl up in disgust at the amount of money you or I keep for personal use when compared to their communal $82, and I earn a fair bit less than the national average.

      Unless you do split your earnings with Burundians and subsist on a handful of dollars a year, in which case, judge away, you’ve earned it!

      Otherwise, feel free to bemoan the ridiculous system that gave Garriot all that money and the Burundians so little, but taking cheap shots at the person instead just seems petty.

    • Berzee says:

      “I’m sure the people of Burundi would curl up in disgust at the amount of money you or I keep for personal use when compared to their communal $82″

      Maybe you can give the Burundians a little more credit than that — a few of them might be happy for someone else having a-plenty. =)

    • PhallicBaldwin says:

      AHAHAHAHAHA BLACK PEOPLE SMOKE CRACK! IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S RACIST!

    • scatterbrainless says:

      yeah John, yeah, how dare you draw attention to global financial inequity. Hypocrit. Personally, I live in a box, in a ditch, and suck moisture out of the cooling unit on my gaming pc to survive.

    • Dozer says:

      John gives away large proportions of his earnings to charities. He is co-patron of the CTFP organisation. The remainder of his income is spent on cat food and USB microphones.

  4. Dawngreeter says:

    Man, if I had 32 million dollars, I’d be a billionaire!

  5. Bilbo1981 says:

    Why the negativity towards Garriott? One of the true greats, I never played tabula but I played the hell out of all the Ultima Series which are in my opinion some of the best games ever!

    • DrGonzo says:

      Because he is greedy and corrupt? No one deserves to be that rich, its quite disgusting.

    • John Walker says:

      No negativity toward him. Just to obscene amounts of money.

    • battles_atlas says:

      In space no one can hear you socialists

    • Lobotomist says:

      I played Tabula Rasa. And was dissapointed than.

      It took me few years to understand that the game was simply ahead of its time. Its still no1 on wishlist for “revive MMO” on many mmo sites.

      Garriot might be a weirdo. And maybe he often sounds preposterous.

      But he is game design GENIUS. One of rare one. Maybe even biggest.

      And he truly care about the games he make.

      I talked with him in person in Tabula Rasa.

      How many developers. Go into the game and talk to the players ?
      I never experienced it before or since…

      I say
      Well fought Lord British !

      Now onto making new ULTIMA !!!

    • Premium User Badge

      Hanban says:

      @Lobotomist Are you sure it was him and not just some guy?

    • Lobotomist says:

      Quite sure. He had custom made toon looking like him. It was actually a game NPC tied to game lore , you can even see it on box art.

      But he is famous for doing this. He was doing this in Ultima too. And he got ganked. You can see it on youtube…lol

      But anyway.
      All those stories how he didnt care about the game, and what not.

      BS if you ask me.

      He even went on public chat to announce he was leaving (for the space station, lol)

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      @Lobotomist

      He means are you sure it was Garriott behind the keyboard? There were a couple of events where multiple look-a-like characters were online simultaniously, with most/all of them being stand-ins acting the part rather than Garriott himself.

      In fact a part of his case against NCSoft was his claim that the quote in this very article about leaving NCSoft wasn’t actually his, being just text on the internet and all.

    • Premium User Badge

      thesundaybest says:

      The money may be “obscene”, but from what I’ve seen it looks like he was owed it. Plus, it’s around what Adam Sandler makes for his movies.

    • Roshin says:

      Well, if he’s so clever at making games, then I’d like to see him actually make more games. That doesn’t suck. But I guess he’s busy fiddling with his Death Ray (TM) and eating monies.

    • Lobotomist says:

      How can I be sure he was behind the keyboard of his Avatar character.

      I can not be sure. Can I.

      Just as you cant be sure that – I here am not actually Garriot himself. ;P

      Lets not try to get to deep into conspiracy

    • nanowired says:

      He needs that money to get his brainchild back. I’m sure EA is salivating over that 32 million RIGHT NOW.

  6. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    Supposedly he used to convert his (mansion?) into a haunted house every halloween and invite all the locals round. He knows how to live, that man.

  7. Narfle says:

    Yeah, millionairres shouldn’t be allowed justice! They’re not real people you know.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I’m sure they can’t hear us over their golden walls and armed guards. You’re sucking up in vain.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Does the term “justice” really apply to whether an already rich person gets absurd compensation for having to sell their shares early? Especially when the reason the rich person had to sell their shares early was because they squandered a huge amount of money going into space for fun.

    • Cyberpope says:

      an interesting opinion Narfle. or should i say…LORD BRITISH! we know its you, go back to space!

    • Urthman says:

      There’s been no justice for Ultima IX.

    • DrGonzo says:

      No. Frankly they shouldn’t. Having that much money in the first place is completely fucked. They’ll be the first against the wall etc

    • Narfle says:

      Well… I mean, millionairres tend to pay a lot in taxes. Garriot probably has paid multiple millions of dollars in taxes, a lot of which will have gone to schooling and healthcare and roads and police. He’s made England better.

      Once the government have taken 50% of your money, I think it’s ok to do what you want with the rest and not be a pariah. Although I do agree that rocket fuel was a waste as compared to some kind of charitable donation.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Especially when the reason the rich person had to sell their shares early was because they squandered a huge amount of money going into space for fun.

      What the fuck are you talking about?

      NCsoft tried to screw Garriott. So say multiple courts. That’s the whole of the issue.

    • Kollega says:

      Now, i wouldn’t say that going into space is “squandering” money per se, since money spent by space tourists on going into space is probably more than space travel costs, and the excess probably goes into space research, and we all know space research is important (even if it’s not immediately beneficial).

      Still, dumping some of that money into helping the poor children (not neccesarily even the poor African children, there are poor children everywhere in the world) would not go amiss.

    • DK says:

      Sorry, saying “I’m in Space and I don’t like making MMOs anymore” IS voluntarily leaving, no matter what the courts say.

      That and the fucker basically killed Tabula Rasa, one of the very few MMOs that were actually unique.

    • undead dolphin hacker says:

      OCCUPY CASTLE GARRIOT

      WE ARE THE ULTIMA NINE(TY NINE) PERCENT

    • adonf says:

      Narfle says: He’s made England better.

      Either you meant Brittania, or you have information about Texas that even Wikipedia doesn’t.

      @undead dolphin hacker: Nice!

    • Berzee says:

      Narfle: justice — it has a salary cap. Beyond that, your money should be spent by incidental internet fools with opinions.

      (The salary cap in most people’s estimation is usually “something rather more than I make in a year”)

    • battles_atlas says:

      Why list all the ways that such wealth is take from the rest of our pockets, when you can just link to the handy graphic

      http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html?ref=sunday

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Not wanting to be part of the bitter majority I won’t immediately assume Garriot isn’t a nice person because he’s filthy, filthy rich. I will say that that’s no injustice in the world that should take $32 million to one single person to set right.

      I have the feeling that the verdict was right and NCSoft really did force him out unfairly and if that’s the difference in the value of his shares then and now, so be it.

      But I also feel no one should have that much money to put in shares to begin with, not if money is supposed to reflect a person’s contribution to society. Hence why people are getting confused and baying for blood because he won back what’s his, because they feel in a fair society he wouldn’t have it in the first place. And that part I tend to agree with.

    • Berzee says:

      “if money is supposed to reflect a person’s contribution to society”

      It’s not. It’s suppose to reflect how much money you’ve made, and it does.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Really? Because I thought it was an evolution of the barter system in which you exchange goods of a certain, roughly equal, intrinsic value.

      Except by nessecity money has no intrinsic value so instead represents the value of the goods or services you gave exchange for the money. I.E. Your contribution to society.

      Of course your circular arguement has merit too (It’s short… That’s it).

    • Berzee says:

      Well, by your own assertion, if your definition was correct, no one would have that much money. But they do, so either you’re wrong about the value of their societal contributions or you’re wrong about the meaning of their money. =)

      Your last reply seems to suggest that someone having so much money *proves* they’ve contributed a lot of goods and services to society (or else they’re a thief).

      I thought you were talking “contribution to society” in some kind of philanthropic or artistic or idealistic way, but I guess you’re just saying that money reflects how valuable your goods and services provided are…which, restated, is simply how much money people have been willing to pay you for what you do…which is, essentially, my definition. ^_^ See, we agree, you and I. We know what’s up.

    • Shuck says:

      “Yeah, millionairres shouldn’t be allowed justice!”
      I don’t call getting paid tens of millions of dollars for losing a company tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars for a failed game (that went way, way over budget) “justice.”
      “Once the government have taken 50% of your money”
      He lives in Texas, in, you know, the United States of America. The country that’s been reducing the tax rate on the wealthy continuously for the last 50 years. And a state that has no income tax (and is effectively a third-world country in terms of many basic things like child poverty and death rates). He’s not really paying much in taxes compared to other industrialized nations, and certainly not anything like 50%. The money would have done a lot more good had it gone to actual NCSoft developers.

    • Berzee says:

      But it’s not about where it will do the most good, is it? It’s about who it belongs to. Once the money is in the hands of the people it belongs to, we can hope that they will consider how to do the most good with it…but only once it’s in their hands, and only if it’s them who are considering.

      (The whole losing-the-company-lots-of-money thing is an interesting factor, but I sense it would not be so simple as “Garriot single-handedly cost us all this money”)

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      @Berzee (a little slow)
      “Supposed” in this case implies I’m aware that the system has strayed from it’s original intent in its execution. My point precisely is that if money were distributed as it should people wouldn’t have that much money.

      The value of your contribution to society isn’t simply “how much money people are willing to pay for it”. Again that’s cyclical, it presupposes money is already an accurate measure of contribution and measures itself against itself as a proof.

      It’s tempting to say the value of your contribution is a fixed amount and it’s solely because money is distributed unevenly that people are willing to pay disparate prices in the first place. That people don’t measure the value of goods in money directly, but in terms of the value of what they gave to receive that amount of money, so if they earn disproportionately more they’re willing to pay more. But that’s oversimplifying it and again cyclical.

      Simple factors like technical knowledge, the opinions of peers or personal taste can alter something’s intrinsic value between individuals, but if you took all the information about an item and asked society as a whole about it, it has a definite average value. That value doesn’t correspond to the average price you could actually sell an item at though, because huge swathes of human endeavour have been devoted to manipulating and exploiting the reality of a society where every individual isn’t as perfectly informed as society as a whole is. An endeavour that greatly benefits the individual but provides no value to (and maybe negatively impacts) the human race as a whole.

      I have the ambition to improve on such an imperfect system rather than simply survive in it. Put that one down to personal taste.

    • lijenstina says:

      Damn wordpress :I Wrong page

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Ah, the usual sad, tired and wrong capitalism equals meritocracy argument.

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Money is like god apparently, put enough blind faith in it and the “right thing” will happen without you having to lift a finger. Marvelous isn’t it?

    • Dozer says:

      There’s two arguments for how people’s incomes are determined.

      There’s the “your income is determined by the economic value of your contribution” theory.

      Then there’s the “your income is determined by how good you are at bargaining for your income” theory. This says that I’m paid £7.50/hr to turn paperwork into bemusing database errors because there’s no-one suitable to take my role for £7.40/hr, and no vacancies I could take somewhere else for £7.60/hr.

      I think the truth is somewhere in between. Garriot built a product that had x million sales at y £/$/€ per unit, producing wealth for his company, then successfully gambled on the share price performance or something. If his wealth came from the people who wanted to buy his products, and from stock-market gamblers making informed choices about their investments, there’s nothing wrong with him having gazillions, is there?

      Instead of focussing on one-offs like Garriot, we should be paying attention to systematic flaws in our financial systems, like how the structure of the banking system means that money is constantly flowing from the poorest to the richest in society through interest payments on unavoidable debt.
      http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/poverty-debt-inequality/

  8. Premium User Badge

    amishmonster says:

    Space Court, Judge The Sun presiding. Guilty.

    Guilty of being in space.

    • Groove says:

      If being in space is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

      SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCEEEEE!!!!!

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      You’re the best.
      The best at what?
      The best at space.
      I’m the best at space?
      Yes. Space.

    • westyfield says:

      Space, by westyfield, aged 15, in a GCSE English class.

      Space.
      It’s big.
      There’s a lot of empty
      space
      in space.

  9. Luis_Magalhaes says:

    It’s delivery like this that keeps this site on my feeds. I was both informed and entertained, thank you. :)

    RPS has become too serious of late, I fear. Nice to see the wittiness is still there.

    • Premium User Badge

      felisc says:

      ? Because skyrim screenshots that grow like penises and battlefield 3 first impressions seen from the eyes of a pot pland lover are too serious ?
      I haven’t felt any seriousification lately.

  10. Cyberpope says:

    coming up next Guild Wars 2 announces its exciting new subscription plan!

    • WotevahMang says:

      Yeah that’s what I’m worried about. If this affects Guild Wars 2 in any way, I will be mildly upset.

      Also, his wife isn’t bad looking (Was wondering about the “de Cayeux”…Googled).

      Also, is he still in the games industry?

    • StranaMente says:

      I was, infact, asking myself, isn’t NCsoft the dev of Guild Wars?
      If this is true, isn’t this thing bad for Guild Wars 2?
      And, if this man (no matter how cool he was ages ago) is already plenty of money and still want more, and yet haven’t done anything signficant in the recent times, is he worthy?
      And again GUILD WARS 2!

    • Cyberpope says:

      No StranaMente NCsoft are publishers or something, its Arenanet thats devving it. Shouldnt effect development but perhaps we may see some sort of hat store implimented. I have no idea how well off NCsoft are though or if 32 mil is a lot to them. Not like THQ is publishing it

    • StranaMente says:

      Well, pubblishers put money into projects, so it may hurt them.
      On the other hand, Garriot is using that money to finance a Texas Hold ‘Em game on Facebook called Sweet @$! Poker.
      (source: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/98382-Richard-Garriott-is-Back-in-the-Game)
      I mean, really?

    • Tacroy says:

      For those who don’t know, NCSoft is the company that developed games like Lineage and Aion, which are fairly popular in the East (and Aion sold surprisingly well over here too), along with publishing City of Heroes and Guild Wars. They can probably afford the $32 million fairly easily, and (unless their lawyers and accountants are absolutely incompetent) will have already budgeted for it.

    • Fiatil says:

      Well presumably the $32 million he just got in this settlement is the difference between NCSoft’s stock price a few years ago and now so….they’re probably doing alright!

    • Lobotomist says:

      LOL!

      Please nooooo!!!

  11. Kollega says:

    Boo! Hiss! Something something social justice! Something something communist revolution! Reflection on the fact that actual communist revolutions never had much success in bringing any justice to the world! Proclamation that i hate everything and will now drink myself stupid! *

    * I do not think i will actually be drinking myself stupid, even though looking into it prooooooooooooobably could be worthwhile.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Opposing obscene wealth does not equal communism. However communism in Cuba did lead to far superior literacy, health care and just general living conditions. In fact they have better literacy than the UK or the us.

      Oh wait.. That was a joke wasn’t it?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Why are leftist revolutions always assumed to be communist in nature? There are many, many lefties who do not condone the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    • FFabian says:

      Because in Americaland everyone promoting social justice is an unpatriotic, babyeating communist who hates them for their freedom. *massive flagwaving follows*

    • Kollega says:

      Communism (actually, it was socialsim) in Russia also lead to better literacy, but also to totalitarianism. That’s what i was getting at. And yeah, i didn’t really think about the other kinds of leftist revolutions. But whatever.

      Overall, that was kind of a dig at my own leftist tendencies – first demanding social justice through revolution and robbing the rich to give to the poor, and then reflecting on the fact that few revolutions have brought said justice to the inhabitants of the country the revolution was in. In Russia and China, at least, it went like “meet the new boss, even more repressive than the old boss”.

      In conclusion, i will go now and drink myself stupid. *

      * Not really – see above.

    • MrThingy says:

      A brutal cruel and repressive regime…
      … but with a superb anthem.

    • GT3000 says:

      @DrGonzo

      Are you actually justifying the oppression of my particular nationality’s people based on superior literacy, healthcare, and supposed living conditions? I’d rather be illiterate, sickened, and living in a hut rather than have the state mandate by career, life, and arbitrarily decide whether or not I’m a good enough comrade to own a fridge or vehicle. But you know, it’s all worth showin’ up those pesky first world countries, take that democracy. I can read better. If my I rolled my eyes any harder they’d pop out of my skull.

  12. JackDandy says:

    He should give all the dosh he made to Beggars.
    Compassion, Lord British! Practice what you preach!

  13. Premium User Badge

    Napalm Sushi says:

    Maintaining orbital velocity at an altitude of 400m must be challenging. He must need that money just for re-boosting fuel.

    • Premium User Badge

      Durkonkell says:

      Don’t be silly, the castle uses anti-gravity. With that said, running his personal fusion plant is probably a tad expensive…

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      The poor are a remarkably rich source of deuterium and tritium. He just shovels them into the sinister gaping maw of his fusion reactor.

  14. angramainyu says:

    NCSoft forgot they just needed to get Garriott to chase them to the moat and let the ship cannons get him.

  15. Alphabet says:

    I thought Tabula Rasa was wonderful, one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in gaming.

  16. GenBanks says:

    It may be a lot of money, but you never know, he might turn this new fortune towards developing a creative and experimental (and now well funded) game he’s always dreamed of.

    That is the sort of thing gigantic sums of money exist for.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      That is the sort of thing gigantic sums of money exist for.

      Exactly. With that kind of money, you could make an extremely ambitious game without a publisher ruining it along the way. I want someone like Raph Koster to have that kind of funding.

    • Wizardry says:

      He could try to buy Ultima back from EA.

  17. Khann says:

    That’s million bucks.

  18. Berzee says:

    “Meanwhile, the people of Burundi live on $82 per year.”

    too soon

  19. Berzee says:

    reply fail?

  20. Hendar23 says:

    Cool. He can go give over 390,000 Burundis a years paid vacation!

  21. merc-ai says:

    I wonder what is it that he is feeling – how much of joy is it to get so much money when you already have so much money AND been to space?
    A shame about so many envious comments, though.

    • AbyssUK says:

      Well I don’t care if I had a gazillion dollars if I felt I’d been cheated out of 32 million quid, I’d fight for it I’d take them to court. He won so therefore has all the data to back himself up, the courts ruled in his favour twice now so he is the good guy in this. Don’t hate on the guy for standing up for himself…. very un-RPS.

      NCSofts board members are the ones at fault here and they probs have more shares than Garriott i.e. each made more dosh , hate on them for being greedy.

      reply fail.. doh

    • Kollega says:

      Well, John did put it in perspective with starving African children, so a knee-jerk response should have been expected.

    • Skabooga says:

      Although I don’t necessarily agree, as Dolly Parton once said, “You ain’t never so rich that you don’t want what’s coming to you.”

    • something says:

      The money was either going to him or NCSoft so I figure this story is, morally, pretty neutral. Of course, I’d like to see him either do great, noble things with his money or give it to someone else who will, just as all people with more money than they need should. But when there’s people like Fred Goodwin in the world, it seems churlish to attack a man who has created some genuinely worthwhile things. And also Tabula Rasa.

    • merc-ai says:

      Kollega:
      yeah, mentioning Burundi people was either a joke made without thinking of results, or deliberate Kotakuing of the story to get the shitstorm brewing.

  22. Dana says:

    1200 ft is like 350 meters. Its hardly “orbiting”, more like floating.

  23. renadi says:

    While I do agree, nobody needs that obscene amount of money he was screwed by ncsoft I’ve no doubt, maybe for good reason but… well I guess they got what they deserved? >_<

  24. Talorc says:

    Can you occupy a space station orbiting 1200 feet above the earth?

    • Skabooga says:

      Hmm, plan B. Seagulls, assembllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

    • Dozer says:

      1200′ is slightly under the height of the London Bridge Shard, which will stand at about 1050′. So you pretty much would just need a stepladder.

      Or a powerful winch. I used to be routinely launched 1200′ above the ground by a powerful winch at the other end of a field.

  25. Wizardry says:

    I don’t know why people are complaining about him having too much money. If there’s anyone in the industry that deserves that much money it’s Richard Garriott. Unless you’ve played all the Ultima games then you really cannot judge his contribution to gaming. Without him the whole landscape of gaming would be so very different.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      If there’s anyone in the industry that deserves that much money it’s Richard Garriott.

      There is no one that deserves that much money.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      There is no one that deserves that much money.

      You make great things and lots of people buy them. What’s the bad part of this equation, precisely?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Nothing’s wrong with that particular equation. The one where someone gets to have a moon out of it has everything wrong with it, however.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Dawngreeter: And how much money does that Minecraft bloke have for making an alpha version of a video game? Given he has that much, Garriott deserves to be a billionaire.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I am sure you believe your statement is somehow connected to mine, but I would appreciate if you expressed it in an easily comprehensible manner.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      The one where someone gets to have a moon out of it has everything wrong with it, however.

      Again, what exactly is wrong with it?

      Too many people bought his stuff? Oh noes? Now he’s suddenly evil?

      So what’s the limit? How much money am I allowed to make from a software product before you start clucking your tongue? Is there any kind of penance I can do to make up for my sins of earning a bunch of money?

    • Berzee says:

      After you make $50,000 per year you are REQUIRED to make all your products into freeware. You know, for fairness.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Again, what exactly is wrong with it?

      The fact that you believe something a person does is not a function of society that enabled him to perform this function but is somehow done in a vacuum where no other factors are involved and thus do not need to be compensated.

    • Skabooga says:

      I’m sure the programmers and artists who did the majority of the grunt work wouldn’t mind a greater share of the profits. Not to mention the janitors who cleaned the buildings in which they all worked.

      TillEulenspiegel says:
      10/26/2011 at 15:55

      Is there any kind of penance I can do to make up for my sins of earning a bunch of money?

      You could donate some of that money to causes which help the poor.

    • Nick says:

      There’s a difference between making lots of money by making good things and making lots of money by exploitng loopholes, screwing staff and cheating on your taxes. Learn it and hate the right people with lots of money.

    • Berzee says:

      Skabooga, I sure hope you’re posting these comments from a library computer or something, and not one of those evil privately-owned possessions.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Skabooga: Richard Garriott was a programmer for the first five Ultima games.

    • Berzee says:

      You and your filthy facts. Donate some of those to the poor, snappy-like.

      I never played an Ultima game in my life (well, a couple hours of 8 and I bounced off the interfact of 7 right quick but I won’t be permanently deterred) but I’m sure the University of Texas had really good janitors and it shows in the games.

    • Unaco says:

      @DawnGreeter

      What is the maximum amount of money that someone can deserve?

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Fifteen.

    • pipman3000 says:

      take all of richard garriots money and give it to someone who actually makes games instead of bolstering his ego with castles and trips into space

    • Wizardry says:

      @pipman3000: You do know who is father is don’t you? If you think he only went to space to boost his own ego then you are very much mistaken.

    • Skabooga says:

      @Berzee: I’ll have you know the janitors at the University of Texas run a very tight ship, and certainly deserve more credit than they get. Also, thank you for your generous donation of sarcasm to the poor. Although considering how much you have, you should probably be giving more. This imbalance must be redressed!

  26. AbyssUK says:

    http://www.leagle.com/xmlResult.aspx?page=1&xmldoc=In%20FCO%2020111021146.xml&docbase=CSLWAR3-2007-CURR&SizeDisp=7

    Full legal docs, interesting read it seems his brother had identical shares, who waited until the release of Aion before selling. Because NCSoft forced Richard out but claimed it was voluntary he had to sell his shares within 90 days so couldn’t wait until Aion was released. The resulting surge in share price for ncsoft after Aions release.

    Seems NCSoft wrote the press release which stated Garriott was leaving NCsoft to pursue [other] interests. Interestingly Garriott did not sign his NCsoft prepared resignation letter, which am guessing is why mainly the guy has won.

  27. applecup says:

    I still miss Tabula Rasa. :(

    • grable says:

      You and me both buddy :(

      I was in the beta, and had a blast!
      I seriously regret not getting in on the action before it closed too, but who would have guessed it would be on the market only 4-5 months…

    • Aufero says:

      I miss it too. It had some great ideas I’d like to see in other MMOs, and I had a lot of fun with it.

      Unfortunately, people tend to drop your game rather quickly when you launch with buggy newbie zone quests, an obviously unfinished crafting system, and a vague notion about how you’d like to complete some endgame content eventually.

  28. lijenstina says:

    He should switch to Air Conditioning business. He could build a space station in a few years.
    http://www.npr.org/2011/06/25/137414737/among-the-costs-of-war-20b-in-air-conditioning

  29. Ultra-Humanite says:

    It’d be worth 32 million dollars if that knobhead would disappear Howard Hughes style.

  30. Chandos says:

    He kinda looks like Teemo from LoL in that picture. “Captain Garriott reporting for duty!”

  31. BobsLawnService says:

    Garriot deserves every cent of his fortune. He earned it starting a company from scratch and nurturing and growing it. He had obscene amounts of vision and talent and the drive to convert that into money. I’d rather live in a world where it is possible to start out selling a game I programmed in a ziplock bag and ending up with $32,000,000 than a world where that was not possible.

  32. Mctittles says:

    With everyone calling his amount of money “obscene” I take it somehow most people commenting don’t have anyone that is poorer than them by a great amount that too would look at them as having an obscene amount of money?

    • D says:

      I haven’t had anyone that poor since they outlawed slavery.

    • Danny says:

      Of course not, it’s no longer fun when you’re the one with obscene amounts of money and freedom.

      I seriously loathe a couple of the posts on this item. First the bankers, now the millionaires…What’s next, (verbally) assault people worth more than 100k ?

    • lijenstina says:

      Slippery slope to the rescue!

    • Berzee says:

      Implying that “He made that money by selling a valid product through valid channels. It belongs to him. Leave him alone.” is an argument that needs rescuing.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      Apparently being rewarded for building an empire out of nothing but the sweat of your brow is the ultimate in evil these days.

      Fucking filthy hippies.

    • lijenstina says:

      @Berzee
      Nope. The sentence “What’s next, (verbally) assault people worth more than 100k ?” does need the slippy sloppiness.

      I like the left / right wing divides. It makes life entertaining at the level of an on rails shooter. Predictable and scripted, albeit with more choice of bots.

    • Berzee says:

      left/right is too easy

      people have a wide variety of convictions about what’s fair and what isn’t — and those convictions won’t always square up with what they post on the internet, I think :)

      In the quote you reference, I think I would edit it and change the “what’s next,” to “If that’s what you believe, why don’t you already” — both to avoid the slippery slope-iness, and also out of actual curiosity.

      I notice Unaco has been asking about the actual precise amount of money that means you ought to be robbed for the good of all — and nobody has answered him. If things cannot be stated with precision, you *do* exist on a slope of notable slipperynes.

    • lijenstina says:

      You see the difference between those two values is 1:320. It’s not the same ballpark. That’s why it is a slippery slope.

      A huge wealth inequality poisons the relations between people within a society and has a negative effect on politics and democracy with concentration of power and influence . On the other side a clear system of rewards is needed as an incentive for people who are capable to have results in a fair game.

      Striking the right balance between collectivism and individualism is very difficult but also is necessary to diminish the negative impacts of both value systems. Simplistic preference to each leads to problems. Individuals can achieve their full potential only in a functional society, a society is functional when talented and skillful people are respected and rewarded.

      The concrete values when the progressive taxation should become much more aggressive are most likely to some extent set arbitrarily, maybe in the ballpark 1:10-15 of the average family income per year with a different set of significantly lower, less steep rates if most of the money is kept inside the company and invested in new plants, technologies, products instead of personal consumption.

      That way a society sends the message that investment and modernization is appreciated and valued.

    • Dozer says:

      There’s nothing wrong with wealth that’s aquired fairly. I think Garriot’s earned his millions. Bankers, however, just sat on their collective backsides while the fractional reserve banking system poured hundreds of billions of real-economy wealth into their pockets. You can’t blame the bankers for behaving within the laws, but you can blame the laws and the people responsible for monitoring, updating and enforcing the laws. Banking Reform Now! Nationalise the creation of money.

  33. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    That’s DR. Richard Garriot de Cayeux to you.

  34. Davie says:

    It’s funny how the kind of eccentric lunatic with too much money that Garriott is is cheered on and laughed about in fiction, but the general public apparently believes Garriott himself is a terrible, terrible person. Not saying it’s justified or not, but it’s an interesting observation.

  35. zergrush says:

    As long as he’s paying taxes and not being evil there’s no problem at all with being rich. In an ideal world, the tax money would go to essentially making people’s lives better, with decent public schools, medical system, etcetera, and it’s not Richard Garriot’s fault that it doesn’t.

    Also, people don’t usually simply sit on large piles of dead cash, they might own some mansions, a couple of yachts and a hundred aston martins, but the bulk of it is usually invested in making more money, which usually involves paying people to do stuff and all that jazz. In a well regulated system, this kind of process should happen in a way that’s beneficial to “everyone”.

    Africa has been suffering in the hands of fucked up governments ( both foreign and their own ) pretty much since the first white dude sailed there, and probably even before that. Throwing Richard’s millions at Burundi would do nothing but make whatever side of their civil war that happens to be running the country better armed against whatever ethnicity they’re trying to kill. It’s just so fucking naive to imply that money’s somehow able to magically solve social issues.

  36. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    “Meanwhile, the people of Burundi live on $82 per year.”

    Oh, please. You know all that infrastructure and institutions of the first world – the schools, the universities, the functional government, the businesses and enterprise – It didn’t just appear out of nothing. Over the years the people decided to make those things a priority, to lift themselves out of the mud and create all that. Throughout history people have toiled and sweated blood to make that a possibility.

    The people of Burundi could be first world if enough of them made that decision. It wouldn’t happen overnight but it could happen. Unfortunately it is not because the people refuse or don’t care enough to make sure that their governments are effective and that the resources they have are used to build the country.

    Burundi remains the most corrupt country in East Africa : http://blogs.wsj.com/corruption-currents/2011/10/20/burundi-remains-most-bribery-prone-east-african-country/

    Yeah, I’ll save my tears for their $82 a year until they prove that they have earned more.

    • zergrush says:

      They’re a couple hundred years behind whatever country you’re using as a standard in terms of, dunno, is “social evolution” a valid term?. They’re probably barely used to not being killed, I doubt they know what a government is or what to expect of it. And if they do, they might be more focused in simply not starving than in fighting the probably feeble recently reformed government.

      People get used to living in whatever way they manage to survive, it will take plenty of time before/if they start wanting more and are able to provoke some kind of change.

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      I think we will have to agree to disagree. The history of independent Burundi is pretty much characterised by widespread corruption and tit-for-tat attempts at genocide by the Hutu and the Tutsi. The people are clearly too consumed by tribal hatred and a mad headlong rush towards self destruction. The people are too busy trying to kill each other to establish viable institutions and a prosperous economy and in this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for it.

      Also, Richard Garriot had nothing to do with it despite his millions.

    • zergrush says:

      I don’t disagree with you (:

      What I meant is simply that I think they really aren’t “in this day and age”, at all.

    • pipman3000 says:

      yes they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps just like the white man!

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      “yes they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps just like the white man!”

      Well I suppose it is better than the argument that they are only ignorant victims and can’t be held responsible for their own actions.

  37. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    double(ish) post.

    Please ignore.

  38. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Why the hate? Is one bad (Tabula Rasa) and one not-so-great game (Ultima IX) erasing his previous achievements? And gosh, so he got 32M dollars..is it harming anyone? Hardly, it is pocket money for NCSoft

  39. Unaco says:

    How much money does Notch have?

  40. Arglebargle says:

    NCSoft pulled their ploy at the exact time that Garriott was in training for the space run, locked away in Central Asia, with very limited communication ability. It was definitely a calculated move on their part, though it has subsequently backfired on them. To the the tune of 32 mil.

    I can understand why NCSoft was a bit unhappy. They bought in to him thinking they were getting a gaming genius. Garriott had long since lost the creative spark that lead to his early, classic games. He’s a micromanager who gets enamored with feature creep. He cannot deliver a game on time and under budget. For Tabula Rasa fans, Garriott’s version of the game was completely different from what eventually came out. He got pulled from the project because of the years of development that had not lead to a viable game (at least in NCSoft’s opinion). He was replaced as the decision making dude by a couple of different people, and Tabula Rasa ended up being a hodge podge of differing ideas and approaches. Some of the earlier ideas from the game did end up in Aion though.

    Not a bad guy, but he’s been on a downward spiral creatively for a long time. His brother, on the other hand, is a dangerous business shark. Richard Garriott should be appreciated for the great things he did, but not as lionized as by some here. Maybe he could pull a Miles Davis or Madonna, and re-invent himself in the genre, but I’d take a wait and see on that myself.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      As much as I love Miles his work in the 80s was execrable imo.

      Finally people are seeing what genius his 70s work was though which is a very nice thing.

    • Arglebargle says:

      ‘Everyone hated Miles’ 70’s stuff, but now they finally appreciate it. His 80’s stuff is terrible.’

      Maybe in another decade or two they’ll like that, too? I like a number of recordings from his last decade

      I saw him in concert in ’83, so that may have something to do with my opinion of that era. Davis reinvented himself four times in my reckoning.

      We’ll have to see if Garriott can do something similar. The Ultima line peaked at 6 or 7 imo, and then there was UO. After that, hmm…..

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Yeah I suppose execrable is a bit over harsh in regards to Miles’s 80s work. He was still a superb horn player – and continued to surround himself with excellent musicians. Much of it just struck me as overly Muzak-y. Here in the UnitedStatesia there’s a whole genre of what’s called “smooth jazz” that it easily fits into – and typically hearing it puts me into righteous indignation mode.

      I imagine actually seeing Miles would have had a much different effect. He probably reinvented himself more than 4 times but that’s splitting hairs.

      I tend to put Garriott on the downhill side of his career though – much as I felt that Miles’s 80s work was not challenging enough to the listener. Then again Miles – and Garriott as well – might just have wanted to get paid and were willing to do what that took to get there.

  41. destroy.all.monsters says:

    This is my absolute favorite story picture ever. Thanks John!

  42. bonjovi says:

    Woha, I didn’t take RPS as such a political think thank.
    But you guys are right, he shouldn’t get more than a $100 dollars, it would make poor African kids so much better, wouldn’t it?

  43. DNyeEverything says:

    The money is pretty mind-melting, of course – but I think there is another element here. NCSoft, if the judgement of the 5th Circuit Appeal Court is correct, sought to deprive an employee of benefits he was entitled to by fudging transnational labour laws. There is now a precedent in US law that a Korean company can’t terminate employees’ contracts without appeal and then argue that they did not leave involuntarily because they were not coerced or intimidated. That’s a scrap of labour protection for potentially less wealthy Americans.

    (And it’s worth noting that Garriott is probably not vastly wealthy, in the greater scheme of things – he talked about the $30m it took to put him in space as the majority of his fortune, and had to borrow to exercise his NCSoft stock options – he didn’t have that much liquidity. Obviously, he has a lot more money than most, but he’s not Jim Walton.)

  44. Big Daddy Dugger says:

    So let me ask all the anti-capitalist morons here a question… If Richard Garriott doesn’t deserve his 80 million dollars then how come you payed for his games…which lead to him having 80 million dollars? It’s not like he owns a mill that grinds orphans into hot dog meat for profit…his wealth comes from people agreeing to give him value for whatever reasons they individually chose, he didn’t steal anything and you shouldn’t feel one bit entitled to the fruit of HIS labor. You have the exact same potential to create wealth from thin air by expressing yourself or creating something as he did without demanding that others just give it to you for being lazy out of some indoctrinated and skewed sense of morality. Fuckin’ Brits conquered half the world and some of you STILL have a sense of self entitlement to others’ possessions… And by the way, Socialism sucks horse ass; the only countries it’s been successful in are those which have a unified culture and rich natural resources to cover their economy’s back so even when they stop producing anything out of laziness and entitlement they don’t become a third world country. The best example of this is probably Norway with it’s abundant oil reserves (owned by the government and applied towards tax programs). France barely gets along and it’s economy only really stays held up since it’s such a popular tourist destination. Or you could easily show a failing socialist society since they outnumber the successes by 9 to 1. Get the bogeymen out of your head and take responsibility.

    • Grayvern says:

      You’d have a point if France wasn’t largely center right and that it’s physically impossible for someone on a million a year compared to 40,000 a year to be doing 25 times the work of that person given that even by the most generous estimates workaholic CEO’s and businessmen only work 16 as opposed to 8 hour days. Or that socialised social policy is different than an attempt at creating a socialist country.

      And no anyone on up to £60,000 a year shouldn’t be taxed any more than they are, however the the top 10-20% are vulger and earn that money off the back of others.

      Why should someone with a natural gift for something reaching their potential be rewarded more for someone with fewer gifts reaching theirs as a builder.

      Ultimately all people even genius level intelligence people are like guardsman eminently replaceable, and no idea is ever had once so why should invention and creation garner a disproportionate reward.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Allowing the whims of short term gamblers to run your company is a recipe for disaster.

      And I might point out that the recent worldwide economic collapse was not caused by socialist government’s failures in applying the capitalist solution.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      ARE YOU SERIOUS KID?!111!!!!! BACKS OF OTHERS?! DID HE PUT HIS KEYBOARD ON SOMEONE’S BACK WHEN HE WAS PROGRAMMING ULTIMA?! What the hell are you talking about. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE! The reason a builder isn’t payed the same as a game designer is because there’s nobody else making Ultima. If a carpenter says “Ok I’ll build you a house but I’m gonna need five bajillion dollars to get started” you can walk down the street and find another carpenter willing to offer you a better deal because pretty much everybody and their grandmother is qualified to be a carpenter. Whereas with what Richard Garriott has created as a student (not some super rich media mogul) it’s completely unique and if you don’t like the 40$ or whatever he charged for Ultima when he released it you can go find someone else to sell you a game but you won’t be getting Ultima because at the time the only person capable of conceiving Ultima is this dude. Are you arguing that he should have charged less for his games? Was asking you to agree to trade 40$ for a copy of Ultima unfair? Or are you saying a SWAT team should break into his house and STEAL (take without his consent) 95% of his assets to airdrop into some third world country? Because honestly I can’t see anything wrong with him having what he has, he didn’t take anything from anyone, he materialized wealth from thin air out of his own contribution. Actually you could argue that his deeds were selfless in that he strengthened the economy, he made the dollar (I assume he was in the U.S. at the time) more equitable without even expending any resources. If a random guy from some third world country did what Richard Garriott did then their economy would skyrocket and suddenly people from his neighborhood would be able to afford ten times the crap they could before. I’ve already forgotten what I was saying now because I’m multitasking…I’m just gonna go. LOL that Richard Garriot is SUCH a slavedriver.

  45. Cryo says:

    At least he got paid millions for making games rather then billions for creating disastrous financial instruments that tanked the world economy.

  46. Iskariot says:

    I would love to have obscene amounts of money.
    I would create the game of my dreams.