ZeniMax Acquires Escalation Studios As Oculus Fight Continues

ZeniMax Media announced that it's acquired the Escalation Studios game development company for an undisclosed sum. The deal gives ZeniMax another source of PC, console, mobile, and virtual reality (VR) titles--the last of which could be particularly interesting, given ZeniMax's lawsuit against Oculus.

Escalation has worked on everything from the latest Doom to Midway Arcade. It's also got plenty of experience with VR thanks to games like Herobound: Gladiator, NCAA March Madness VR, and Please, Don't Touch Anything VR. (How thoughtful of developers to append "VR" to almost every game meant to be experienced outside the confines of traditional devices.) This experience could prove useful if ZeniMax decides to go big on VR in the future.

That's probably going to depend on the company's lawsuit alleging that Oculus got its start thanks to ZeniMax technology. ZeniMax has sought $4 billion in damages and compensatory awards based on the claim that iD Software's John Carmack was a driving force behind Oculus' technology. That tech so grabbed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's attention that he approved a multi-billion dollar acquisition for a company that had yet to release a product.

What happens in the courtroom will probably lead ZeniMax's approach to VR for some time. But acquiring Escalation shows that the company--which also owns Bethesda Softworks and iD Software--is at least flirting with the idea of getting more involved with the nascent VR industry. Escalation is apparently "working on a number of projects with studios throughout the ZeniMax family" already. Time will tell if those projects involve VR.

Oh, and this might be a little uncomfortable: Escalation's Please, Don't Touch Anything VR was an Oculus Touch launch title. Awkward.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.