FREDERIC LEGRAND - COMEO / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Recently, Oculus, a company Facebook acquired for $2 billion almost three years ago, has turned out to be more trouble than it’s worth. Oculus lost a major lawsuit worth half a billion dollars to video game publisher ZeniMax, owner of Fallout and Skyrim developer Bethesda Softworks, with the court ruling that Oculus had used copyrighted ZeniMax technology without permission, holding the company and its founders liable. And now ZeniMax is moving to shut Oculus down completely.
According to Reuters, ZeniMax is seeking an injunction on sales of any product that uses their technology, which has been widely distributed to developers working on games for Oculus products, notably the Oculus Rift. If granted, it would likely limit what games are available for the Rift to a tiny handful, already a problem for a company with product sales lagging in its market.
This in turn raises the question of whether Oculus can stay afloat. The $500 million judgement was against both the company and its founders, including Palmer Luckey, and currently they’re appealing the verdict. It’s widely believed ZeniMax is trying to force a settlement and end the appeal process early. Either way, it seems unlikely that the saga of Facebook’s increasingly ill-fated foray into VR is over just yet.