back to article Oculus gift: VR biz to cough up half a billion dollars for ripping off software copyright

Game maker ZeniMax has been awarded $500 million in its lawsuit against Facebook-owned VR firm Oculus. A Texas jury on Wednesday found that Oculus cofounder Palmer Luckey had violated a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax. The jury also found that Oculus had violated ZeniMax's software copyrights, even as it rejected the …

  1. Sampler

    Bit Steep

    How do they calculate a half a billion value for Zenimax if total Oculus revs have been a quarter of a billion (taking the upper estimation of 400,000 @ $600 a piece = $240million).

    How have Zenimax lost out on so much if Oculus have been unable to generate half that before costs during the peak of VR interest (which appears to be on the wane now, going the way of 3D tv's/movies).

    Can't imagine there's much more legs left in the industry, everyone interested in the gimmick have bought their toy.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Bit Steep

      everyone interested in the gimmick have bought their toy

      Actually no, I haven't bought mine. I'm waiting for the 2nd generation. Plus actually I am broke, and can't afford the headset plus the graphics card it would need.

      I'm conflicted. On one hand I love seeing Facebook forking out the money. On the other, I kind of think this verdict is BS, and the award amount is ludicrous.

    2. JLV

      Re: Bit Steep

      A different POV is that, if Oculus was acquired for 2+1 B$, then that gives them 15% of the acquisition price. Depends how much the value of what FB acquired was based on what was supposedly stolen from Zenimax.

      Seems steep, but who knows? In any case, a type of IP shenanigans that FB's founder should be well acquainted with, neh?

    3. Kaltern

      Re: Bit Steep

      Another shortsighted view from someone who obviously doesn't think this new fangled VR thing is worth the bother.

      VR is not going the same way as 3DTV, because VR is still improving and developing. It offers a far greater sense of immersion than 3DTV ever could, and while the 1st generation of these new headsets are still not perfect, they have already built upon the prototype versions that came before, and will continue to improve.

      IT's only a matter of a year or 2 before we see 2k and 4k screens that will allow VR to really shine. GPU's are catching up fast, and should allow the resolutions needed which are the only key problem right now.

      Even 3DTV has a chance to make a comeback, once glasses-free tech is perfected.

      People like you are the reason we are slow to improve, and move on.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @Klatern

        "GPU's are catching up fast, and should allow the resolutions needed which are the only key problem right now"

        I beg to differ. VR has a certain number of issues, not the least being weight and freedom of movement. I have cognitive dissonance when told about how immersive it is - you're immobile in a chair and tethered by a cord. A good friend of mine told me it was pretty good though, so I have to think that there is a future for it beyond medical applications.

        For gaming, however, I think that VR will only really be immersive when you have a sphere around you in which you can walk, run, roll and jump. That, along with whatever headset tech exists at that time, and then you can talk about immersive. Until then, my 26" Iiyama is plenty immersive to me when sitting at my desk.

        That said, I am keeping tabs on this newfangled toy. I'm sure that, one day, the tech will advance enough to win me over. Not yet there, though.

        1. ArrZarr

          Re: @Klatern

          In my experience (With my Rift DK2), I've now been completely turned off racing games outside of the rift due to just how damn immersive it is. That gets around the issue of running and jumping as you don't do either while driving.

          Even something like Euro Truck Simulator 2 - I find myself moving my head back and forth to see around the cab pillars on reflex about it and other such driving habits - it's that good.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Klatern

          > I have cognitive dissonance when told about how immersive it is

          I grew up with an 18 inch b&w <SD TV til I was about 8 - programmes were immersive. ZX81 games were immersive. Books are immersive. Immersion is a state of mind - so long as VR requires a headset and 3DTV glasses they will fail to capture mass market.

          1. Kaltern

            Re: @Klatern

            "I grew up with an 18 inch b&w <SD TV til I was about 8 - programmes were immersive. ZX81 games were immersive. Books are immersive. Immersion is a state of mind - so long as VR requires a headset and 3DTV glasses they will fail to capture mass market."

            Oddly, so did I - although my weapons of choice were a Mattel Aquarius, C64 and Amiga 500/1200.

            I think I even read books.

            In fact, I'd wager my understanding of English language is probably as good as yours is. (my ability to type is questionable)

            Oh, and it's Kaltern. Not Klatern. Makes me sound like some horny teenager. Which I sadly am no longer. A teenager.

            The odd analogy of glasses/headsets as a barrier to immersion is as ludicrous as saying the same thing about a monitor. Or paper.

            Immersion, like life, doesn't require a cessation of evolution to remain relevant - it NEEDS to evolve. I bet you're one of those who don't see the point of 4K, or that 30 frames a second is perfectly adequate for gaming immersion.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Klatern

              >I bet you're one of those who don't see the point of 4K, or that 30 frames a second is perfectly adequate for gaming immersion.

              Nope - I'm one of those who worked on VR first time around using stereo high def feeds for remote control too not just blocky 8/16 bits displays. I have 2 4K panels on my workstation - albeit mounted vertically. Even in niche applications where VR was pretty awesome it never really took off - most operators prefer a 2D display with profuse telemetry. VR has immediacy which fires people up, but immersion is a non-argument.

        3. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: @Pascal Monett

          If you think you have to be immobile in a chair you obviously haven't seen the HTC Vive's Lighthouse system. You CAN stand, move around, duck and step around objects with the latest versions of this tech! Tracking is impressively fast and accurate and the method used seems stupidly simple in hindsight. You DO need a large living room for this tech at the moment however. With the handcontrollers you can actually manipulate VR objects too in a way that doesn't break too much with what you see either. (If I were to spend the money on a VR set at the moment it would be on a Vive, it's clearly the superior version of this generation. Oculus actually has some catching up to do as they set the bar HIGH)

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: @Pascal Monett

            "You CAN stand, move around, duck and step around objects with the latest versions of this tech!"

            Yes. The only snag is, this is commercial-grade stuff. This isn't because of the technology, but because you need a large space that people realistically don't have in their homes.

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: need a large space that people realistically don't have in their homes

              But they will have, unfortunately it will be full of smashed shit including their VR headset.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit Steep

      >taking the upper estimation of 400,000 @ $600 a piece = $240million

      Components alone are $200-$350 (depends who you believe) - assuming they keep a lid on development and increasingly desperate attempts to find non-niche applications - 400,000 is $20 million @ $50 a headset - $50 profit is probably over-generous.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby

      @Sampler Re: Bit Steep

      "How do they calculate a half a billion value for Zenimax if total Oculus revs have been a quarter of a billion (taking the upper estimation of 400,000 @ $600 a piece = $240million)."

      They use the same math that they do when they calculate the values of those Unicorns.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit Steep

      I think it would be based on Facebook paying "an additional $1 billion for Oculus employee retention packages" when "Oculus hired five senior employees away from ZeniMax" only the month before. The ruling could be compensating ZeniMax for these employees if ZeniMax were able to show that Facebook's purchase of Oculus depended on this hiring.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit Steep

      400,000 LOL. Get a grip. Not even a quarter of that. Playstation VR has outsold Oculus and Vive sales COMBINED, in a quarter of the time.

      As for the 1/2bn, I'm sure Palmer Luckey will be on the phone to his mate Trumpy as we speaking, getting the judgment overturned, with a new amendment adding that Presidents pals have unlimited get out of jail free cards.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bit Steep

        @AC Quote: "400,000 LOL. Get a grip. Not even a quarter of that. Playstation VR has outsold Oculus and Vive sales COMBINED, in a quarter of the time."

        Different markets to start with, Rift and Vive are high end devices and need a high end PC to use, which not many people will have.

        Playstation VR is basically a Google cardboard clone, plugged into a £200 console which lots of people (millions) do have.

        If you want to talk raw numbers for any VR device, then Gear VR beats them all, with about 5 million sold, and that's far closer in capability to the PSVR, than the PSVR is to something like the Vive.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bit Steep

          "Playstation VR is basically a Google cardboard clone"

          Totally and utterly untrue. You get pretty much the same performance from a PSVR than you do from rift and Vive,. But at a quarter of the TCO, with far more games on the table. It sounds to me like you are a sore bsfky burnt early adopter , trying to fool others into joing you. PSVR is really very very good, and mainstream affordable (just about). The PSVR main unit is about the same price as a couple of rift controllers alone, that his much of a price disparity there is,. The performance disparity is minimal if anything, from pretty everyone that has used them all.

          1. Sampler

            Re: Bit Steep

            @AC above, is that when the PSVR is working and not blacking out?

            No one seems to mention the screen fucking close to your face which seems to be the main drawback with VR I've used, even when putting my prescription in to the config as I can't wear my specs under the VR specs, the screen's just too close and gives headache, google cardboard approach is awful too, tried a Samsung demo of their gear vr and even on the top end spec phone's they'd strapped in the dpi was still too low to not get blue motion blur around the pixels and everything being too blurry and high latency.

            Total waste of time, as these aren't metrics you can fix with a Clarkson application of "moar powah" (well, maybe the pixeling & latency), and by fading out like 3DTV I mean the way the "buzz" has died down by the technology again, just like it does every cycle. I love all the comments about "in two years" when VR was being wheeled out when I was kid, and, I'm a kid no more, I've been waiting over two decades for what you're ascribing to the next two years, like 3D, the tech comes en vogue every now and again and then disappears because no one can fix the fundamental flaws they have.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Oculus products are built with Oculus technology"

    and ZeniMax employees.

    Honestly, Oculus would not be where it is today if Carmak hadn't gone over to Oculus with a group of colleagues. If I were the CEO of ZeniMax, I'd be seething. Half a billion wouldn't seem exaggerated to me.

    1. raving angry loony

      Re: "Oculus products are built with Oculus technology"

      I think you mean: Oculus wouldn't be where it is today if they hadn't ripped off 9500+ people for over $2 million with the promise of an open VR platform, only to turn around and give a glorious "fuck you" to everyone who chipped in on kickstarter.

      1. matthehoople

        Re: "Oculus products are built with Oculus technology"

        This is my biggest issue with Oculus. Total bastards in that regard. The _only_ reason I chipped in myself was because they claimed it was going to be open and hence usable on Linux. It was actually possible to use my DK2 on linux and steam for a while, so although it wasn't open source I had hopes I wouldn't have to switch to windross in order to use it.

        So, as a result I find myself using it less and less nowadays.

        Still, it's impressive technology despite what the anti-VR folk are saying here.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: "Oculus products are built with Oculus technology"

      "and ZeniMax employees.

      Honestly, Oculus would not be where it is today if Carmak hadn't gone over to Oculus with a group of colleagues. If I were the CEO of ZeniMax, I'd be seething. Half a billion wouldn't seem exaggerated to me."

      As it happens, ZeniMax don't own people, so they can leave if they want. It's ex-ZeniMax employees. What this shows is that ZeniMax should have paid those employees more, so they wouldn't leave.

      This is capitalism in action. If your company hinges on one, or a small group of people, then you need to pay them basically all of the revenue from the company. Like sports clubs (that don't have wage caps).

      1. Zmodem

        Re: "Oculus products are built with Oculus technology"

        half a billion is a joke, rendering 2 images side by side, is for $100 in carmacks world

        1. Zmodem

          Re: "Oculus products are built with Oculus technology"

          i can't find it, but syncError @ id, was moaning for around 3 weeks on irc and on ESR before zenimax told carmack to stop and get on with work

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always cheers me up when I see Zuckerberg and Facebook get a kick in the balls.

  4. Whitter
    Trollface

    "Oculus ... focused on being found not guilty ... and said it plans to appeal the decision."

    "Oculus in its statement focused on being found not guilty of trade secret theft, and said it plans to appeal the decision."

    So it wants to be found guilty?! There's a turn-up for the books!

  5. Zmodem

    they mean carmack improved the headset, bethesda can't even make a good game, the engine for fallout 4 took 10 years and its still crap

    doom 3 engine took 2 years, and doom 3 BFG has virtual reality mode with the code carmack was messing around with, zenimax just inherited it when they brought id

    1. ArrZarr

      You are of course entitled to your opinion on how good Bethesda games are.

      What confuses me is your opinion that the engine alone makes games bad. Sure, getting fallout 4 to work at native resolution on my main monitor requires me to disconnect the other displays and specifically run in borderless windowed mode but that's only part of the game and hardly a defining feature...

      1. Zmodem

        proving bethesda can't program renderers, even after 10 years, carmack is a "wizard" with renderers

        the whole of fallout 4 resembles quake 2 with new lighting, and bigger textures

  6. nijam

    > Oculus in its statement focused on being found not guilty of trade secret theft, and said it plans to appeal the decision.

    So they're saying they *are* guilty of stealing trade secrets, then?

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