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The tension between Oculus and ZeniMax has taken a decidedly different turn. One of the individuals involved in the original lawsuit, John Carmack, is now suing ZeniMax for a completely different reason.
Kotaku is reporting that legendary programmer John Carmack -- the man responsible for helping to get the Oculus Rift consumer version software up and running properly -- is now suing ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda, and the current owners of id Software.
In fact, it's the ownership of id Software that has spawned the lawsuit. Following on the $500 million lawsuit where ZeniMax sued Oculus for breach of NDA and copyright infringement, Carmack has sued ZeniMax for unpaid principal in the ownership of id Software. Carmack is suing for $22.5 million.
This latest legal pursuit has spawned from the fact that Carmack has claimed in a dispute that his legal representatives contacted ZeniMax a month prior asking to have his shares in id Software converted into cash. According to the dispute, ZeniMax has refused to "honor its obligations" and they're breaching an agreement between the company and John Carmack.
Carmack's lawyers note that after ZeniMax purchased id Software back in 2009 for $150 million, they haven't paid through all of what was owed to the owners, such as Carmack, and that they're holding out on the final $22.5 million.
It's a messy case that's just now rearing its head in a completely separate situation from the Oculus lawsuit that ZeniMax just recently won. The company wasn't satisfied with the $500 million decision, though. ZeniMax also sought an injunction against Oculus and any software running on the Oculus Rift, attempting to prevent software from being sold that may use ZeniMax's alleged code.
The whole thing has devolved into a pretty vicious slap fight that doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.
With Carmack resurrecting the request to have the principal owed to him from the buyout from back in 2009, it seems like it could get ugly for ZeniMax real quick.
It's almost impossible to tell exactly how this will turn out. Carmack's case, on the surface, could have merit, and if the court sides with him then it could be a blow to ZeniMax. However, the opposite could happen and they could throw the entire thing out.
A worst case scenario for ZeniMax is to have Carmack win the $22 million and then they're denied their injunction to have the software for the Oculus Rift blocked. A best case scenario for ZeniMax would be to have the Carmack case thrown out, and to have their injunction go through and the courts side with them to have software for the Oculus Rift blocked on the copyright infringement grounds.
It's quite sad that things have gotten to this point, because it seemed like ZeniMax and Oculus working together could have generated some great results, such as officially supported VR versions of Fallout 4 or Skyrim, or a VR version of The Elder Scrolls Online for the Oculus Rift. But it seems like that won't be happening anytime soon.