In a move that will likely surprise no one, ZeniMax Media has made good on its stated intention of persuading a Texas court to halt sales of the Oculus Rift. The company — parent to game studios around the world, including Arkane Studios, id Software, and Bethesda Softworks — had said a few weeks ago that they were looking into the possibility of filing a sales injunction on the VR headset after a court ruled that Oculus had misappropriated trade secrets from ZeniMax.
Initially, the suit that ZeniMax filed against Oculus was for $6 billion and included damages for not just copyright infringement, but also outright theft as well as breaches of non-disclosure agreements by executives who had left the media company to develop the Oculus Rift.
A few weeks ago, a Texas jury awarded ZeniMax a total of $500 million for infringement and the NDA breaches, but did not see any evidence of theft. Still, it was a massive blow to Oculus, which has now been compounded with a threat to end all sales of its VR headset.
As reported by Polygon, the injunction would apply to anything that Oculus has made using ZeniMax’s code; this includes not only the physical VR headset, but also software that helps the Rift run on different platforms, using different engines. Besides possibly being a deathblow to Oculus — no sales means no income, after all — if the jury decides to rule in favor of ZeniMax, it may also badly hurt game developers hard at work making games for the Oculus Rift.
If the jury, however, rules against ZeniMax regarding the injunction, the company has requested that they receive an “ongoing royalty” instead. This payout would be around 20 percent and Oculus has already announced that it would appeal the jury’s decision in either case. Whatever happens, it seems that courts in Texas will be busy refereeing the fight between these two tech giants for years to come.