Earlier this month, ZeniMax, owner of id Software and John Carmack’s former employer, sent formal notice to Oculus claiming key technology its virtual reality headset relies on were developed by John Carmack while he was still employed by ZeniMax. ZeniMax claimed that only with its help, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey “was able to transform his garage-based pipe dream into a working reality," and it wanted compensation. Today, the company officially filed suit.
What do you get when you mix copious amounts of pizza with in-development virtual reality tech which can trigger motion sickness with prolonged use? A lot of vomit, probably, but also a Chuck E. Cheese Oculus Rift game.
Oculus VR has been hiring some serious talent for the last few months. It nabbed id Software’s John Carmack last year, then Valve’s virtual reality wizards Michael Abrash and Atman Binstock, then it hired a founding member of Halo 4 developer 343 Industries, Kenneth Scott, to be its art director on future first-party titles. Now it can add one more name to what must be a huge orientation meeting: former Google Glass engineer Adrian Wong.
Oculus VR has been on a high-profile hiring spree for the last few months. It nabbed id Software’s John Carmack last year, then Valve’s virtual reality experts Michael Abrash and Atman Binstock, and former Electronic Arts executive David De Martini is helping the company partner with developers of all sizes. We just learned of another high-profile Oculus hire, but this one is a little different than the rest.
When news surfaced that Facebook had agreed to buy up Oculus VR, it became clear the headset maker had big plans for its virtual reality technology. Now we have an idea of just how big. Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe says the Rift headset could potentially serve as the platform for an MMO with "a billion" people, according to a report at The Verge.
Apologies for once again using that one photo of John Carmack wearing his Oculus goggles, but it's pretty much the perfect illustration for this story - if only he was frowning rather than flashing a cheeky grin. So yes: Oculus have responded in a statement to Zenimax's claims that John Carmack took "technology and know-how" belonging to them when he left id Software/Zenimax for Oculus VR - and, blimey, they're not holding back. "We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax’s actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false", the statement begins, before providing a full point-by-point rebuttal of Zenimax's assertions. You'll find it below.
ZeniMax Media, which owns id Software and Bethesda Game Studios, sent formal notice to Oculus claiming key technology the virtual reality headset relies on were developed by John Carmack while he was still employed by at ZeniMax. ZeniMax claims that only with its help, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey “was able to transform his garage-based pipe dream into a working reality," and now it wants compensation.
The second major permutation of the virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift DK2, has reportedly sold 25,000 units since its pre-order page went live on March 19. After only a month, that number is almost half of what the first development kit, the DK1, sold in its lifetime. Aside from a few tweets and forum comments, this is the first hard news from inside Oculus VR since the company was infamously purchased by Facebook last month.
World of Tanks is a game about tanks. As such, it seems safe to assume that its players like tanks. Maybe they even like tanks enough to want to be a tank; or at least experience the virtual reality approximation of being a tank. According to Wargaming.net CEO Victor Kislyi, that could happen, but only if the numbers add up. In an interview with CVG, the World of Tanks boss said that, while he's interested in the tech, the Oculus Rift would need to sell around 5-10 million units to justify native support. It's worth watching the interview, embedded inside, not just for the Oculus discussion, but also to hear Kislyi use the phrase "magicians of experience".
Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.
Now that the Facebook buyout story is yesterday’s chip paper, everyone has stopped talking about Oculus Rift. Not me, though. The headset is a permanent fixture on my desk, and I’m always keeping my eye on sites like RiftEnabled and Oculus VR Share for new demos to try. It’s a minefield, though. The open nature of the hardware means there’s a lot of crap out there in Rift land, but it’s amazing that most of the good ones I feature in The Rift Report are made by one person in their spare. Imagine what a team of 100 developers with a blockbuster budget could do.
Virtual reality, SteamOS, fiber broadband, 4K displays, holodecks (you know, maybe)—the next five years of PC gaming will radically transform our immortal hobby. What new experiences will the PC games of the near future provide? How will technology surprise us? This April at PAX East 2014, we'll look into that glowing future with the innovators and PC gaming stakeholders shaping it.
The fury over Oculus VR’s acquisition by social media giant Facebook seems to have fallen to a low simmer as the raw emotion has a chance to cool. Another factor: we don’t really have any more information now than we did the day after the news broke. Aside from Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s increasingly futile defense on reddit, no one inside the deal has spoken up. Now, development legend John Carmack, who famously left his position at Id software to work as Oculus’s chief technology officer, has spoken up for the first time.
Three days after Oculus announced that it was being purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, the VR company has hired programmer Michael Abrash, who has worked at Valve since 2011. Abrash has been working on Valve's virtual reality technology for the last couple years, and regularly posts deep technical discussions of VR on his blog. Abrash is joining Oculus as Chief Scientist, and in his introductory post on Oculus' website, he cites the Facebook acquisition--and Facebook's deep pockets--as "the final piece of the puzzle" necessary for VR to achieve greatness.
In addition to making the Unreal series, Cliff Bleszinski is also an investor in Oculus VR. He admits in a recent blog post that, as an early investor in the company, he stands to make a lot of money from Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition. But he also thinks the deal is great for Oculus VR overall.
There have been a lot of reactions to the purchase of Oculus VR by Facebook in the last 24 hours, much of it polemic and apocalyptic. Our own reactions ranged from guarded optimism to cautious disappointment, while Minecraft creator Notch immediately canned an Oculus-focused version of Minecraft. EVE: Online developer CCP, on the other hand, has expressed support for the purchase and say that release plans for the VR starfighter game EVE: Valkyrie won’t be changing.
Less than two years ago, we were describing the Oculus as something that began as a “garage project.” Today, Facebook has bought Oculus VR for $2 billion in stock and cash, surprising all and horrifying some. Here in the PC Gamer office, we all have our own theories and thoughts on what Facebook’s involvement means for the future of VR gaming—and how the deal will impact PC gaming as a whole. Here are our reactions to the Oculus purchase, written shortly after the deal was announced.
The news that Facebook will acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion in a combined cash/stock deal has, understandably, taken over the internet. Everyone on Twitter is posting reactions—some are excited, many are shocked, and almost everyone is surprised. Mojang's Markus "Notch" Persson has weighed in on the news by canceling talks for an upcoming, official version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift.
Facebook has reached a "definitive agreement" to buy Oculus VR for around $2 billion. Oculus is the clear leader in virtual reality headsets—only recently challenged by Sony's Project Morpheus—and though it hasn't yet released a consumer product, the company announced last week that the second version of its Oculus Rift Development Kit will ship this summer.
Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in the Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let’s find out.
So the new HD Rift development kit has been revealed, and it’ll cost you a princely $350 to buy. We don’t have one yet (don’t worry, we will), and the low-res screen of the first devkit is looking pretty pathetic compared to the dazzling high-res screen that Sam tried at GDC. But I’m still enjoying the original model, and a slightly blurry screen doesn’t diminish the power of the Rift for me.