One of the biggest stories of 2017 for the VR industry is also one of its longest. The year started out with ZeniMax Media taking Facebook-owned Oculus to court over an alleged theft of technology. A jury eventually ruled that Oculus must pay ZeniMax $500,000,000, but that wasn’t the end of things — ZeniMax wants more.
Shortly after the trial, we learned that the company, which owns videogame publisher and developer Bethesda, filed an injuction for the Rift to be removed from sale. This week, the company asked a South Texas court to either carry out that request or for Oculus to pay it 20% in royalties of revenue for the next 10 years. Court documents obtained by Ars Technica also reveal that the company requested damages paid to it were doubled, totalling $1 billion.
Facebook, of course, is disputing the requests. In its own filing, it noted that “ZeniMax does not offer any products that compete with Oculus’s virtual-reality platforms and headsets.”
Interestingly, in the past week we’ve learned that Bethesda is developing VR versions of Doom and Skyrim in addition to the upcoming VR port of Fallout 4. None of these games are officially coming to the Rift at this time, instead releasing on rival platforms like the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR (PSVR).
Facebook’s arguments were largely in-line with the many complaints and statements its made following the trial’s verdict. The company argued that no evidence existed to suggest Oculus had damaged ZeniMax’s financials in any way. Following the court ruling, Oculus’ John Carmack said that people would have “viciously mocked” the analysis. Carmack, who previously worked at Bethesda-owned id Software, was at the heart of the suit. ZeniMax claimed that the Rift had been built using its technology during the early days in which he collaborated with Rift inventor Palmer Luckey. An early prototype of the Rift debuted at Bethesda’s booth at E3 2012 running id’s Doom 3.
Law360, meanwhile, reports that US District Judge Ed Kinkeade simply called for an end to the ongoing legal battle, which appeared shortly after Oculus was acquired by Facebook in 2014. He asked the two to, “resolve the heck out of [this] big, hairy fight.”
Despite Kinkeade’s words, there doesn’t seem to be much sign of an end to Oculus and ZeniMax’s battle right now.
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