ZeniMax Media, the parent company of both Bethesda Softworks and Id Software, has sent legal letters to Oculus and its new parent Facebook alleging that storied Doom programmer John Carmack aided in the development and creation of Oculus Rift technology while he was still with ZeniMax, giving the company claim to at least part of the headset’s intellectual property.
As reported this morning by the Wall Street Journal, ZeniMax alleges that technology Carmack developed while he was still at ZeniMax was the genesis of what would eventually become the Oculus Rift development kit. ZeniMax traces this technological relationship back to E3 2012, where Carmack showed a very early “ski goggle” Rift prototype at the ZeniMax booth to great acclaim from industry and press.
ZeniMax has been seeking compensation for that early contribution to the Oculus tech since August of 2012, according to unnamed “people familiar with the discussions” cited by the Journal. Negotiations reportedly went on for six months and included the possibility of a ZeniMax equity stake in Oculus, but they ended without a deal. Carmack later took on a new role as chief technology officer at Oculus and formally departed Id and ZeniMax a few months after that. Oculus was acquired by Facebook in a $2 billion deal earlier this year.
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