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Samsung's VR Legal Battle Has Hit Another Snag

Gear VR
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung's Gear VR has actually been one of the more popular VR headsets on the market. The low price entry and easy adaptability to smart devices made it a top pick among consumers for VR content. However, all of that success could come to a screeching halt if the legal snag they've run into turns into something bigger.

Game Informer is reporting that ZeniMax is now suing Samsung as part of their ongoing suit against Oculus, due to the cognate possibility of Samsung utilizing Oculus technology. So why would Samsung's utilization of Oculus technology warrant being sued by ZeniMax?

Well, the thing is... ZeniMax sued Oculus for utilizing copyrighted code in their Oculus Rift headsets, back when John Carmack was working for ZeniMax at their id Software branch. They accused Carmack of using their code in Facebook's Oculus Rift headset.

They ended up suing and winning the case against Oculus for $500 million. Well, ZeniMax isn't done yet. After they tried following up to see if they could get Oculus headsets barred from being sold on store shelves, they've now set their sights on Samsung's Gear VR.

So why go after the Gear VR? Well, because Samsung has been working with Facebook's Oculus division to develop their virtual reality technology.

Since Gear VR was developed in collaboration with Oculus, the courts originally subpoenaed Samsung for info regarding source code and tech that may have been provided by Oculus for the Gear VR.

ZeniMax is claiming that Samsung "has used" and "continues to utilize" technologies that are based on ZeniMax's virtual reality source code that John Carmack helped develop.

Game Informer is reporting that if ZeniMax manages to win the case, they could receive "injunctive relief", which would mean that the Gear VR units would have to be pulled from the market that contain the alleged code that belongs to ZeniMax.

This isn't new or recent behavior from the company. They were exceptionally aggressive toward Mojang when they were working on their Scrolls game, which ended up in court because ZeniMax challenged them for utilizing a name too close to The Elder Scrolls.

They also sued Interplay over the Fallout MMO from years ago, and even had the fan-made project DoomRL shut down when they sent a cease and desist. Kotaku even reported that back in 2015 they sued the indie developer working on the game Fortress Fallout due to the similarity in name to Bethesda Softwork's Fallout series.

ZeniMax is an extremely litigious gaming company, and anyone who crosses their path will likely be in for a world of legal hurt. Some gamers expressed anguish over the fact that VR still isn't a very well saturated market as far as headset sales go, and disrupting the market with these kind of legal injunctions could hamper the growth of VR more than help it, especially considering that ZeniMax has no VR headset of their own. So, if any iteration of the Oculus Rift or Gear VR are barred from the marketplace, there won't be any replacements, especially since ZeniMax has no consumer hardware on the market.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.