All is quiet on the VR front again – the copyright infringement issue between Facebook and ZeniMax has officially been settled. The unpleasant Facebook ZeniMax affair that was a blot on Oculus VR headsets is now over, to the mutual satisfaction of both parties involved.
Bad blood between the two is now behind us. It came as unsuspected when ZeniMax accused Facebook Oculus of stealing their intellectual property. Even more so when the court ruled in favor of the former, awarding $500 million to the company before the Oculus appeal cut it. Yesterday however, the two parties agreed to settle the matter by themselves. Neither has come out with the financial terms of the settlement, but we get the gist both companies are glad to dust the issue.
To brush up on the whole Facebook ZeniMax affair, back in 2014 the video company accused the Oculus upper echelon of claiming its proprietary information and using it as foundation for Oculus VR headset. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was involved, while the company CTO John Carmack, a former ZeniMax employee, played a key role in this too. The jury was out at the time, only to rule in favor of ZeniMax who were to receive half a billion dollars in damage money. Facebook appealed, and federal court in Dallas halved the penalty to quarter of a billion. Still the guilt stood, and now ZeniMax appealed to overrule the money-cut decision. This was back in June current year, and 6 months on, the half a decade long feud comes to a close.
A disheartening affair no doubt, one happily overcome. ZeniMax, known to the wider audience as the owners of reputable game studios such as id Software and Bethesda among others, seems quite content. ‘We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome’, CEO Robert Altman. The company was adamant in pursuing, it turned out, rightful cause. ‘While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties’. ZeniMax also had a beef with Samsung, claiming that Gear VR headset is based on the same ZeniMax trade secrets used by Oculus.
While the other side vibes the feeling of relief. Facebook was much terser in their public dealings regarding the case. ‘We’re pleased to put this behind us and continue building the future of VR’, is all the company has to say. The original verdict found Facebook guilty of nondisclosure agreement non-compliance, copyright infringement, and false designation. Though it didn’t have effect on sales and reception of Oculus headsets, it sure has been less than a pleasant experience.
Though both would have it sooner, The Facebook ZeniMax affair settlement comes at an opportune moment for Oculus. The Facebook corporate structure is reflecting more holistic Oculus development approach, while the hype for gaming VR headset Oculus Quest is picking up the pace. Wonder if we’d ever see Bethesda’s Skyrim VR on Quest? No, probably not.