GamesBeat

Oculus VR continues to suggest that it’s the subject of a shakedown

Above: A Virtuix 360-degree treadmill plus an Oculus Rift headset makes for a terrifyingly immersive video game experience at GamesBeat 2013.

Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Unless Zenimax and Oculus VR kiss and make up, you’re unlikely to play official versions of Doom and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the Rift virtual-reality headset any time soon.

The two companies are continuing their public battle this morning. Oculus VR issued a new statement to “clarify a few key points.” It reiterated that the Oculus software includes zero lines of Zenimax code and that John Carmack, Oculus’s chief technology officer, didn’t take any intellectual property from his former employer. The virtual-reality startup continues to suggest that Zenimax is only making these allegations because of Facebook’s recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR.

“Despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online, Zenimax has never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology,” reads the Oculus statement. “Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology. Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers.”

We reached out to Zenimax, and the company referred us to its previous statement where it claimed Oculus “exploited” its technology and intellectual property. The publisher even claimed that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey “acknowledged in writing Zenimax’s legal ownership” of the property.

“Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax nondisclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed,” reads today’s Oculus statement. The company did not illuminate the actual purpose or language of the NDA as it is still bound by it.

Oculus also revealed that Carmack decided to depart Zenimax when the company prevented him from working on virtual reality and stopped investing in VR for its games. The publisher even cancelled VR support for Doom 3 BFG Edition.

For now, this case is nothing but public bickering. Zenimax has only sent an official notice to Oculus VR. This may end up in court, or the two companies may end up settling before that. Regardless of how it shakes out, it’s clear that fans of Zenimax’s games that are also looking into virtual reality might lose out on the potential to play some cool games on the platform in the near term.

More information:

Bethesda Game Studios is an American in-house development team at Bethesda Softworks established in 2001. Previously synonymous with parent publisher Bethesda Softworks, the studio's name and logo were established with the release of T... read more »

Bethesda Softworks, a division of ZeniMax Media Inc, founded in 1986, has a long history of success as a developer and publisher of award-winning video games for PCs, Sony’s PlayStation®, PlayStation® 2, and Microsoft’s Xbox®, a... read more »

Oculus VR™ was founded by Palmer Luckey, self-described virtual reality enthusiast and hardware geek. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development of their first product, the Oculus Rift, a ground-breaking vir... read more »

John D. Carmack II (born August 20, 1970) is an American game programmer and the co-founder of id Software. Carmack was the lead programmer of the id video games Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Rage and their sequels. Carm... read more »

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