Just recently, quite a bit of news broke about the ongoing legal dispute between Zenimax and Oculus. As a result of a lawsuit filed against Oculus, $500 Million has been granted to ZeniMax. According to Polygon, ZeniMax is seeking a court order to halt the sales of any already produced Rift headsets. A jury in the U.S. District Court of Dallas ruled that Oculus had clearly violated upon ZeniMax’s copyrights and violated a non-disclosure agreement.
However, it doesn’t stop there. John Carmack, the founder of iD Software and Chief Technical Officer of Oculus, has been found guilty of downloading thousands of files onto a USB, files that included ZeniMax VR technology. The files also included the id Tech 5 game engine and the entire source code of RAGE. Oculus has not yet provided any comments on the situation apart from saying they plan to appeal the verdict.
The impact this will have on Oculus, not to mention the VR space, is currently unknown. Since their founding in 2012, Oculus has been one of the strongest pioneers in Virtual Reality. It’s purely as a result of the push from Oculus that many games, such as Project Cars and Elite: Dangerous, are playable in VR. Many publishers and developers, such as Square Enix and Insomniac, have chosen to research VR gaming as a result of deals with Oculus. Competitors, such as HTC Vive, PlayStation VR or the upcoming Windows VR, could all theoretically use this opportunity for market share growth.
All this said, it’s important to keep in mind this is purely speculation about the market. ZeniMax could theoretically accept the $500 million they have received and move on, instead of taking further action.