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Oculus took a heavy hit in the courtroom from ZeniMax over the stolen code that was used to help get the Oculus Rift onto store shelves. Well, the $500 million awarded to ZeniMax over the suit may not be the end of it, and there could be future implications for the Rift.
Polygon is reporting that a representative from ZeniMax sent out word to various media publications, for which the rep stated the following in regards to life after the lawsuit...
We will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed ZeniMax's copyrights.
The wording appears to imply that ZeniMax may not settle with being awarded $500 million from the jury in the lawsuit against Oculus, which is owned by Facebook.
If they pursue blocking Oculus from selling the Rift, which may contain the stolen code that won them the lawsuit, then it could mean terrible times ahead for Oculus, Rift owners and potential Rift owners.
If the code is embedded firmware and ZeniMax wants that code out of the marketplace, then that could ultimately halt the production of Rift VR headsets.
If the code is only on the software side as a driver, then Oculus would have to get those drivers out of the marketplace ASAP and replace the code in the drivers with something that wasn't taken from ZeniMax.
If it's a mix of both, then Oculus could wind up being up a creek without a paddle. This is all assuming that ZeniMax decides to further pursue the matter and ensure that the copyrighted code is no longer being used in any capacity with the Oculus VR product.
So what could be the worst case scenario? The Rift headsets are barred from being sold and gamers and VR enthusiasts lose out on another competitor in the marketplace. While a lot of people might be happy to see Facebook take a major hit, this also affects all the games that they helped fund or are helping to fund, as well as pushing VR forward with newer iterations and upgrades on the hardware and software. All of that would be lost.
The best case scenario? Facebook takes the $500 million hit and old drivers have to be made unavailable if they contain code that belongs to ZeniMax.
This news isn't particularly inspiring for the whole VR landscape given that the tech shows a lot of promise but there's a dearth of killer apps at the moment. Only the PlayStation VR seems to be selling consistently well between the major three headsets, thanks mostly to Sony cornering exclusivity with games like Resident Evil 7. The best selling VR headset is still Samsung's mobile headset the Gear VR, which managed to move over 5 million units, according to UploadVR.