ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, has filed an injunction against Oculus VR which makes the headset. Bethesda‘s parent company has requested that Oculus VR, which is owned by social media giant Facebook, stops selling technology that uses its stolen code.
The injunction, which follows an earlier ZeniMax lawsuit against Oculus in which the later was forced to payout $500 million, would not halt sales of the retail version of the headset. However, it would halt sales of Oculus mobile and PC development kits as well as the technology that allows the Oculus Rift to work with the Unreal and unity game development engines. It is also asking for damages of over $1 billion.
According to Law360 (via GameSpot), ZeniMax would seek a portion of Oculus revenue if the injunction is not granted. The company says that the $500 million payout from Oculus is an “insufficient incentive for [Oculus] to cease infringing” and so it has suggested a 20% cut of Oculus revenue over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Oculus says that it plans to file its own “motion to set aside the jury’s verdict” and if necessary, it will file “an appeal that will allow us to put this litigation behind us.”
At this stage, it’s unclear what the odds are of the injunction being granted or that ZeniMax would be able to get such a significant portion of Oculus’ revenue should its injunction fail. But either way, it would be another bad day for Oculus, which has recently seen Oculus Rift demo stands being shut down across North America as a result of too few gamers being interested in trying the headset out.
And even though it’s a slight win for Oculus that ZeniMax isn’t stopping sales of the headset, as the company had previously suggested it may, halting the sales of dev kits would be just as serious a blow. How can developers test and create their games properly with the headset if they can’t gain access to the dev kits designed for that purpose? Does that mean that future Oculus Rift games won’t be properly tested?
Furthermore, even if developers can get around the lack of a dev kit, what will they do without Unreal and Unity support? Those game engines are two of the most widely used in the business, partially for the fact that making a game on Unreal or Unity means that it can easily work on a variety of consoles and platforms. Developers could have to switch to another engine, and learn a brand new game development tool as a result.
It remains to be seen if Bethesda‘s parent company ZeniMax Media will be able to stop the sales of the Oculus Rift headset.