from the those-who-can't-do,-sue dept.
How do you profit from virtual reality without the need for customers or products? You sue! Fresh from winning a $500 million judgment against Facebook/Oculus, ZeniMax Media is now suing Samsung:
Carmack, whose company id Software was acquired by ZeniMax in 2009, was one of the driving forces behind the Gear VR. While the headset was released by Samsung, it's described as "powered by Oculus," with heavy software optimizations developed by Carmack. But the lawsuit alleges that Carmack owed much of his success at Oculus to software he developed as part of a team at ZeniMax.
Among other things, the Texas court filing claims that Carmack secretly brought Oculus (and former ZeniMax) employee Matt Hooper into id Software's offices to develop an "attack plan" for mobile VR, which Oculus would later take to Samsung. The Samsung Gear VR was also built on some of the same code as the Oculus Rift, which was the subject of ZeniMax's earlier lawsuit.
Previously: Zenimax Sues Oculus on Trade Secrets
Mark Zuckerberg Will Testify in Oculus VR Trade Secrets Trial
Facebook/Oculus Ordered to pay $500 Million to ZeniMax
John Carmack Sues ZeniMax for $22.5 Million
Founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, Departs Facebook
What started merely as strongly worded letters and back-and-forth accusations between Id Software parent company ZeniMax Media and VR headset maker Oculus has now turned into an actual legal case. ZeniMax today filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern Texas district accusing Oculus of misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, breach of contract, unfair competition, unjust enrichment, trademark infringement, and false designation.
In a statement, an Oculus spokesperson said "the lawsuit filed by ZeniMax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously."
Lights, camera, Samsung! The company behind the Gear VR virtual reality headset is opening a New York studio to produce new immersive experiences. Samsung announced the news here at the Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah, where virtual reality is emerging as a prominent theme.
[...] Festival-goers thronged Samsung's showcase during the day, with queues forming to try the Gear VR headset. Friday also saw the premiere of a new virtual-reality sketch from comedy website Funny or Die starring Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer of TV's "The League" and "Childrens Hospital". The comedians then enthused about VR at a boisterous panel discussing the making of the sketch, during which Huebel described VR as "the most fun way to blow people's minds." If people are really going to embrace virtual reality, they need stuff to actually watch on their headsets. Last year's Sundance saw the Facebook-owned Oculus VR company announce an initiative to create more content, and this year Oculus has recruited actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt to help promote its wares.
Google will reportedly release a smartphone-assisted virtual reality headset in 2016 and build virtual reality software features into Android rather than rely on an app. The device will use plastic casing, add extra sensors, and include better lenses than those distributed with Google Cardboard:
We've said a few times now that Google's virtual reality initiative is too big for the company to just be working on Google Cardboard, and now The Financial Times has published a report detailing what seems to be the next phase of Google's VR push. The report says that Google is working on "a successor to Cardboard," creating a higher-quality headset and building VR software directly into Android.
The device sounds like a Google version of Samsung's Gear VR. Like Cardboard, the headset will be powered by your existing smartphone, with a "more solid plastic casing" along with better lenses and sensors. Also like Cardboard, this won't be limited to just a handful of devices, with the report saying that the headset "will be compatible with a much broader range of Android devices than Gear VR."
Such a device sounds like it would occupy a compelling spot in the market. The Gear VR is a great device—the $100 headset is a powerful entry-level VR experience—but it only works with Samsung phones. Cardboard has much wider phone compatibility, but it comes with a huge list of compromises that lead to a subpar experience. Taking the Gear VR model and expanding it to accept most popular smartphones sounds like a solid idea.
The CEO of Facebook will testify against accusations made by ZeniMax Media concerning virtual reality technologies used by Oculus Rift:
ZeniMax Media, the parent company of both Bethesda Softworks and Id Software, says it will prove at trial that John Carmack and others at Oculus stole trade secrets to "misappropriate" virtual reality technology that was first developed while Carmack was working at Id Software. What's more, ZeniMax is now accusing Oculus of "intentional destruction of evidence to cover up their wrongdoing." Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Oculus parent company Facebook, is scheduled to respond to those accusations in testimony starting tomorrow, according to a report by Business insider.
"With the start of the trial of our case in Federal District Court in Dallas against Defendants Facebook, Oculus and its management, ZeniMax and id Software welcome the opportunity to present substantial evidence of the Defendants' misappropriation of our Virtual Reality (VR) intellectual property," ZeniMax wrote in a statement given to Ars. [...] ZeniMax's statement comes after Carmack testified at trial last week, saying the case was "ridiculous and absurd." His testimony echoed Oculus' initial reaction when ZeniMax's accusations first surfaced in 2014.
Mark Zuckerberg's first courtroom testimony hasn't gone over so well. A jury has awarded ZeniMax Media Inc. $500 million in damages in the Oculus Rift case:
The virtual reality headset maker that Facebook Inc. bought in 2014 for $2 billion used stolen technology, a jury said in awarding $500 million damages to ZeniMax Media Inc.
Jurors in Dallas federal court on Wednesday sided with ZeniMax in its trade-secrets case over the Oculus Rift, the device that has put the social media giant at the forefront of the virtual reality boom. The verdict is a rebuke of Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, who isn't a defendant but who told jurors in his first-ever courtroom testimony that it was important for him to be there because the claims by ZeniMax Media Inc. were "false."
The case is ZeniMax Media Inc. v. Oculus VR Inc., 3:14-cv-01849, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas). Not to be confused with the Eastern District of Texas. From a 2013 article in Dallas News:
Judges in the Northern District, which includes Dallas and Fort Worth, saw an 18 percent increase in patent cases filed. And legal experts expect that number will significantly increase in 2013 now that three judges in Dallas have committed to focusing more of their time and expertise on intellectual property disputes.
Also at The Verge.
Samsung is firing back at Google's Daydream VR system. The electronics company revealed that its third-generation consumer-grade VR HMD features a tracked controller. Google just lost its biggest advantage.
During Samsung's presentation at Mobile World Congress 2017, the Korean electronics giant announced the Samsung Gear VR with Controller, which, as you probably guessed, includes a motion controller like the one that Google provides with the Daydream View HMD.
The Gear VR controller features buttons for home, back, and volume control. It also includes a clickable trackpad like the one found on the HTC Vive controllers, as well as a trigger on the back. Samsung loaded the controller with an accelerometer, gyrometer, and magnetic sensors to offer limited motion control. When not in use, the Gear VR controller fits into a strap inside the headset so you don't lose it.
Although, "Google just lost its biggest advantage", Tom's Hardware's own coverage of Daydream highlights the machine-washable fabric outer shell and accommodation for eyeglasses.
A month after Oculus was ordered to pay ZeniMax Media $500 million for infringement and trade secrets claims, John Carmack is suing ZeniMax for $22.5 million for an alleged breach of contract:
Now Oculus CTO and former ZeniMax employee John Carmack has added a personal lawsuit to the mix. He's suing ZeniMax for $22.5 million, which he claims is the last outstanding payment from his sale of id Software in 2009, which ZeniMax purchased for $150 million.
Carmack's share of that sale was $45 million. He converted half of it into ZeniMax shares in 2011, but says he hasn't received the rest of it despite asking nicely. The lawsuit is a little spicy, stating, "Sour grapes is not an affirmative defense to breach of contract."
Carmack claims that ZeniMax won't pay him because of its lawsuit against Oculus, which alleges Carmack broke his employment agreement. But since the verdict in the ZeniMax / Oculus case wasn't against Carmack, Carmack claims he should still get paid.
Palmer Luckey, a founder of the virtual-reality technology company Oculus, has left Facebook three years after the social network acquired his company for close to $3 billion. Mr. Luckey's departure was announced two months after a trial in federal court over allegations that he and several colleagues had stolen trade secrets from a video-game publisher, ZeniMax Media, to create the Oculus technology. A jury found Facebook liable for $500 million in damages, in part for Mr. Luckey's violation of a confidentiality agreement.
"Palmer will be dearly missed," Tera Randall, an Oculus spokeswoman, said in a statement. "His inventive spirit helped kick-start the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry." Ms. Randall declined to disclose the terms of Mr. Luckey's departure. [...] In January, Facebook appointed a new leader, Hugo Barra, to head up the company's virtual-reality efforts, including Oculus.
Will the first Palmer Luckey documentary be compatible with the next Oculus headset?