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Game maker Richard Garriott spent $30M going into space, wins $28M jury award after being fired

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Richard Garriott made lots of money creating the hit Ultima series of fantasy role-playing games. He’s made some more from a flop — almost enough to cover the cost of a recent ride into space.

In 2007, following in the footsteps of his father, Garriott became an astronaut, spending $30 million to get a ride into space on a commercial Space Adventures rocket.

In the meantime, the online game that he spent six years making, Tabula Rasa, bombed in the market. His employer, NCSoft, fired him. Then it forced him to sell off his stock within 90 days, rather than allowing him to do so over 10 years. His contract required that he be allowed to sell stock over a longer period of time in case he were fired. Garriott asked for a $47 million award, but a jury awarded him $28 million after finding in his favor.

If the jury award holds up, Garriott may recoup almost all of the cost of his space trip.

Garriott has since started a new Facebook games company.