Richard Garriott de Cayeux
Vice-Chairman, Space Adventures, Private Astronaut
Richard Garriott de Cayeux is a space explorer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, adventure traveler, and the award-winning computer game developer for the legendary Ultima, role-playing game series.
The son of a NASA astronaut and a professional artist, Garriott’s lifetime has been filled with adventure and success in nearly every corner of the Earth and beyond. Mr. Garriott de Cayeux caught the space bug as a child from his father, and has held a passion toward the space industry, investing in various related ventures such as the Zero-G Corporation, X-Prize, Spacehab, and he is currently vice-chairman of Space Adventures. He has even participated in many space simulated training activities such as Zero-G parabolas, centrifuge simulations of Soyuz launches and landings, and Mig 25 flights to the edge of space.
In October of 2008, Richard realized a lifelong dream to travel to space when he launched aboard a Russian Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft to the International Space Station and became the sixth private citizen to fly in Earth’s orbit. In doing so, Richard became the first second-generation American in space, following the same path of his father Owen Garriott, who completed two space missions in his NASA career.
In 2015, Richard, born in the United Kingdom, was awarded a Sir Arthur C. Clarke award for individual achievement. The prizes are set up to recognize UK achievements toward advancement in space exploration.
Early in his career, Richard combined his learnings toward science and space with a creative intellect inherited from his mother, Helen Garriott, a professional artist. He began designing computer games while still in high school and turned his interest into a professional career that earned him legendary status in the video game industry. His Ultima series of role-playing games remains one of the most successful and longest running series in entertainment software history.
In 1983, Richard and his brother, Robert, established Origin Systems, Inc. The company, based in Austin, Texas, was recognized as one of the innovation leaders in the ever-changing world of entertainment software. In 1992, Origin was acquired by Electronic Arts (EA), a global leader in the entertainment software industry.
In 1997, Richard and his team created a new genre with the technologically groundbreaking title, Ultima Online. Ultima Online’s continued success is measured by the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy playing the game from all over the world, and by the explosion of online games that has followed since its release.
Richard retired from Origin in April of 2000 and formed Destination Games with his brother Robert. In 2001, Destination Games became part of NCsoft, where Richard continued to develop innovative new products.
Over his career as a computer game designer Richard has been honored with numerous awards including Entrepreneur of the Year from Inc. magazine and Computer Gaming World’s 15 Most Influential Industry Players. In 2006 Richard was awarded with two industry honors for his work in the games business: selection into The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards.
In the Austin community, Richard participates in various philanthropies with the earth and performance arts in mind. He regularly hosts the Austin Shakespeare Festival on his estate with his creation of a Shakespeare’s Globe replica. Richard has also sponsored haunted trails and hosts a yearly concert and fundraiser on the behalf of the Wild Basin Preserve, has supported the Bat Conservation International group along with the Nature Conservancy.
Besides being a video game mogul, Richard has also maintained a thirst for adventure and exploration. Not only is he active in the adventure sports of scuba diving, hang gliding, sky diving, caving, and rappelling in addition to other water and winter sports, Richard also enjoys taking his love of adventure to the next level. He has participated in two expeditions in search of meteorites on the continent of Antarctica during which he was able to witness spectacular views of the continent he still describes as the most beautiful place on Earth. His other travels have taken him to the bottom of the Atlantic to see the Titanic, Rwanda to observe mountain gorillas and a canoe trip down the Amazon River.