Oculus VR Responds to Alleged John Carmack Code Theft

Oculus VR sent out a brief update on Monday, saying that the company is “disappointed but not surprised by ZeniMax’s actions.” The company plans to “prove that all of its claims are false.”

ZeniMax accused Oculus VR CTO John Carmack of stealing company property and using the technology in the upcoming Oculus Rift HMD. The conflict between the two companies dates back to early 2012 when John Carmack was still a programmer at id Software, and Palmer Luckey was working with a research group at the University of Southern California.

In an email sent to Tom’s Hardware, Oculus VR states that its products do not contain any lines of ZeniMax code or any of its technology. The email also states that John Carmack did not take any intellectual property from ZeniMax when he quit in November 2013.

"Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax," Carmack stated on Twitter on May 1.

Monday’s email from Oculus VR states that Zenimax has "misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed." What's more, the Oculus VR email says that one of the key reasons why Carmack id Software was because ZeniMax prevented him from working on VR, and no longer invested resources in VR across the board.

"Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax’s demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus," the company told Tom’s. "Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology, Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers."

Oculus VR points out that ZeniMax has yet to identify any "stolen" code or technology even though the full source code for the Oculus Rift SDK can be downloaded from here.

So what happens next? We’ll keep you posted, as this may get a little nasty.

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  • ferooxidan
  • StarBound
    Facebook should fight them in court, then buy the Zenimax for $1, then fire the employees who tarnished the companies name by doing this VR scandal or just disband the company.
  • aitrus00
    ZeniMax has already lost plenty of credibility with their ESO debacle. I think this is their way of recouping losses from that epic fail.
  • Krisk7
    Yes, looks like we can expect Elder Scrolls Online go free to play pretty soon ...
  • joe nate
    Well, I know many of us were left with a distaste in our mouths about Facebook's acquisition of Oculus Rift. Fortunately, one positive side effect of that deal is that with all that financial backing, there's no way that any patent trolls or law suits are going to stop it from coming out, despite the delayed to 2015 release.
  • cats_Paw
    Originaly this was Palmers "dream" and since he was motivated to make something great people back him up with their cash.
    Facebook does things for profit.
    Whenether it will be good or not remains to be seen, but I aint gonna be holding my breath anymore for this.
    I am greatly dissapointed by Palmer (who basicly cashed in on the money of others), who probably dosent control the damn thing anymore.
    Its kinda like Dragon age 2 and mass effect 3. WHo cares that Bioware makes the game when EA is calling the shots?

    So, will facebook ruin VR? Well, considering its a company that is based on ads (to be frank, facebook only has money as long as its popular, it dosent actually has a real value) I cant say I see a bright future.
  • Quarkzquarkz
    Listen, are they suing Oculus Rift because ESO did so poorly? I mean I'm so shocked by Zenimar's sleazy and pathetic ways to recoup their losses that I don't know whether to laugh from all this retarded nonsense or go in a violent rage to troll the forums until my fingers are tired and my throat is dry.. =(
  • xaephod
    Like Carmack has to steal code. The man is a real life Tron!
  • southernshark
    Oculas VR: Updated Official Response.

    "We don't care. It's Mark's problem. Now excuse us we have to count our money. KK Bye."
  • f-14

    here is the multi million dollar question " how much of the know how, functionality, design and design limits or basically said how much of the knowledge of and design of the VR tech & code knowledge was used from your time and experience while contracted to zenimax was used at oculus ? "

    just like the suit apple had against samsung over the phone; knowing all the features of the iOS and iPhone how much was designed with the same features that never existed before it's invention and after including its it's further development while still working for them? just because it's implemented differently or the code cleaned up or expanded upon and rewritten doesn't mean it's not stolen.

    taking some one else's thesis and using all different words and word structure even if making it simpler or more complex is still plagerism especially when it never existed before but incorporates the same intellectual knowledge and know how and principles and design.

    he knew how it worked, what made it work, and based that know how of what was before to recreate what they have now.

    recreating something that did exist before isn't invention that's copying, u.s. law says it has to be 30% different from what existed before. methodology is what is zenimax is claiming intellectual rights over? processes are patentible but requires explicit detail in order to ensure proprietary ownership.