Oculus slams Zenimax over VR code theft allegations

May 5, 2014
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Oculus slams Zenimax over VR code theft allegations

Oculus has fired back over allegations that John Carmack stole code from his former employer Zenimax and used it in developing the Rift, among other things. "There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products," the company said today in an extended statement, pointing out that despite its full source code for the Oculus SDK being available online, Zenimax is yet to actually pinpoint what was stolen.

In fact, as Oculus tells it, Zenimax had washed its hands of virtual reality long before Carmack left, and indeed the company's refusal to consider its potential was one of the key reasons the expert decided to quit.

Rather, Zenimax had ceased development on VR technologies and integration in games, it's argued. As for why Zenimax decided to yank VR support from Doom 3 BFG, Oculus says it happened when it refused to hand over a non-dilutable equity stake.

Oculus paints a story of Zenimax as only becoming interested in chasing an IP claim when it knew the virtual reality firm was flush with Facebook cash. As for the non-disclosure agreement that Zenimax says Carmack contravened, Oculus says "the purposes and language" are being misstated.

"We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax's actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false," Oculus concludes.

There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products.

John Carmack did not take any intellectual property from Zenimax.

Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed.

A key reason that John permanently left Zenimax in August of 2013 was that Zenimax prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company.

Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax’s demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus.

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.

Despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online (developer.oculusvr.com), Zenimax has never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology.


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