Ultima Online creator Richard Garriott has praised hit MMO World of Warcraft for expanding the audience for online gaming - and thereby boosting sales of other games in the genre.
Speaking in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz Garriott said, "We commonly get the question, is World of Warcraft a big competitor that might hurt our sales? It really turns out to be quite the opposite.
"In the case of the MMO genre, when people sign on to play one of these games - while it's true that they generally only play one, maybe two at the most, no one plays any particular MMO for more than a year or so."
Garriott is best known for developing the Ultima series of videogames, which included Ultima Online - seen by some as the world's first true MMO. He sold the company he founded, Origin Systems, to Electronic Arts in 1992 and later joined NCsoft, where he is currently working on MMORPG Tabula Rasa.
"Ultima Online still has hundreds of thousands of players just like it did when it launched. But the ones playing today have almost no overlap with the ones who played it a year ago, or the year before that," Garriott explained.
"What's happened is the majority of those players are now looking for other things to play and have moved on to EverQuest, or World of Warcraft, et cetera... Similarly, the people that World of Warcraft brought into online gaming have been churning out, and are now looking for other forms of online entertainment.
"So we're very excited - truly, honestly - to see any successful massively multiplayer online game," Garriott concluded. "World of Warcraft has done us a great service."
For more from Garriott, read the full interview.