It's only a month and change since Facebook announced it was acquiring Oculus VR and its potentially transformative Oculus Rift device. But there's a new wrinkle: ZeniMax claims the device couldn't exist as it does today without the help of its former employee, John Carmack.
Yep, things just got weird, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal today.
Carmack used to work at the ZeniMax-owned id Software, creators of DOOM and Quake. He formally joined Oculus last summer. Carmack's been an avid fan of virtual reality, and has showed off homemade prototypes.
As ZeniMax sees it, that's the rub.
"It was only through the concerted efforts of Mr. Carmack, using technology developed over many years at, and owned by, ZeniMax, that Mr. Luckey was able to transform his garage-based pipe dream into a working reality," reads a legal letter from ZeniMax to Facebook.
You should read The Wall Street Journal piece for the whole breakdown, but in a nutshell, ZeniMax is arguing that Carmack is directly responsible for the Oculus Rift we now see today, and those contributions were made while Carmack was still working for ZeniMax, not Oculus. As such, ZeniMax is seeking compensation for the work one of its employees made to the device, and it hasn't been happy with the offers made so far.