Gamasutra has a long (long) interview up with Raph Koster (lead designer of Ultima Online and founder of Areae). It's long. But Koster touches on a ton of stuff - the shift in game design, the ultra-casual market like Habbo Hotel vs. WoW, this idea of 'game grammar', why patents are a necessary evil, and is 'single-player gaming dead'? - and it's an interesting read. Even some interesting ideas on the us vs. them mentality present in the industry (or is it?):
I love when you chided everyone [at GDC Austin] . I watched Sulka Haro [of Habbo Hotel]talk, and ... I could feel this slightly electric vibe of tension between the MMO guys in the audience and Haro. I don't want to overgeneralize, but... I got this "We don't like you, and you don't like us," kind of feeling, because they feel like he's doing something different.
RK: Sulka has been coming to GDCs for years! He's a guy who has been bridging the gap all along. Honestly, it's more cases like... Nexon never comes out and talks, because they really do think that they're just a different industry, as far as they're concerned. I don't want to ascribe motives — I don't really know — but they just don't do the talks! Because honestly, how relevant would many of the talks here this year be to them? Not very! I think it's really, really, really important that people in any industry get out of their village and go anywhere else and check out what's going on. Travel is broadening.
It's an enjoyable interview to read with some different ideas on a number of aspects of the industry.
Defining Games: Raph Koster's Game Grammar [Gamasutra]