Raph Koster – Game Designer & Consultant

A professional game designer and frequent writer on issues of interactive design, Raph Koster was the lead designer on the seminal online world ULTIMA ONLINE, which first brought online worlds to the mass market. Until March 2006 he was Chief Creative Officer for Sony Online Entertainment, makers of EVERQUEST, where he previously led the design of STAR WARS GALAXIES.

After departing SOE, Koster founded Metaplace, a virtual world startup funded by Crescendo Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Marc Andreessen. Metaplace created groundbreaking patented technology that allow the creation of cloud-based games and virtual worlds, making games “work the way the web does.” Metaplace operated a portal site, METAPLACE.COM, where users could create their own worlds. Metaplace then moved into social games, creating ISLAND LIFE and MY VINEYARD before being acquired by Playdom.

He worked as Vice President of Creative Design at Playdom/Disney, where he served as creative director for DEEP REALMS and unannounced titles, as well as continuing to work on technology. He departed Disney/Playdom in April of 2013. Since then he has been an independent game developer and occasional consultant helping companies solve major product strategy and design problems.

His essays and writings on online world design include widely reprinted and influential pieces such as “Declaring the Rights of Players”, “The Laws of Online World Design”, and “A Story About a Tree”. He is in demand as a speaker and lecturer on issues of online game design, particularly in the area of community building. He is a regular speaker at the Game Developers Conference, and is the maintainer of the canonical history of virtual worlds at his website, https://www.raphkoster.com. His book A THEORY OF FUN FOR GAME DESIGN was published in 2004 by Paraglyph Press (now from O’Reilly) and is used in many university courses as study material. In 2012 he was named an Online Game Legend at the GDC Online Awards.