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Occulus Rift Bought By Facebook for $2 Billion - Kickstarterers are PISSED


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#1 camoor

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 11:47 AM

So, Occulus Rift was bought by Facebook for 2 billion. Nice payday and should be good for VR.

 

Facebook will acquire virtual-reality technology company Oculus VR for $2 billion, the social-networking giant announced Tuesday. Oculus makes the Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset originally funded on Kickstarter.

 

http://time.com/3784...ok-oculus-rift/

 

 

Of course the idealistic Kickstarters that started this party are pissed:

Little did the nearly 10,000 backers to the Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign know that the project they funded would eventually lead to a multi-billion dollar payday for the virtual reality headset's creators.
 
But, indeed, Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to snap up 18-month-old Oculus for $2 billion.
...
 
While Oculus is cashing in, this doesn't mean much as far as dollars going back to Kickstarter or the thousands of project backers. Part of the point of Kickstarter is that creators and inventors have total creative freedom over their projects and thus aren't weighed down with acquisition restrictions or future profit regulations.
 
However, that doesn't mean all backers are happy about the Facebook deal. Shortly after the news of the deal broke on Tuesday, dozens of backers started leaving angry comments on the Oculus Kickstarter campaign page.

 

 

 

http://www.cnet.com/...or-kickstarter/

 

This is why I don't support Kickstarters. At best, you're paying a premium for a product you know little about. More often you're giving away free money. 



#2 Number83

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 03:40 PM

Luckey sold out.  He used Kickstarter as a stepping stone in order to make a product he had every intention of selling.

 

Notch, from Minecraft, sums it up perfectly:

 

Notch himself contributed $10,000 to the Oculus Rift kickstarter project in 2012, an investment he says he did not make "to seed a first investment round to build value for a Facebook acquisition."

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#3 Ryuukishi

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 04:28 PM

Kickstarterer? Is that like a Cheap Ass Gamerer?

 

More often you're giving away free money. 

 

That is kind of the point of Kickstarter. But I can see why people are mad. It does seem a little shady that they went to Kickstarter to ask for money from grassroots supporters when a two billion dollar payday was right around the corner. But I guess they may or may not have known in advance that this was coming.


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#4 Richard Kain

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:29 PM

The point of Kickstarter is to provide start-up capital for prospective business. In that sense, this acquisition hasn't changed anything. All of the promised benefits to the original Kickstarters are going to be covered. In fact, there is considerably less risk now.

 

The real complaint here is that this particular project is no longer independent. I personally have no real issue with it. But then, I didn't kickstart the Rift.

 

It's a little unrealistic to help start up a project and then expect it to always remain small. Oculus VR showed real potential, and worked hard to realize that potential. Someone in a position of power saw that potential, and decided to acquire the company. Now the scope and scale of the Oculus Rift project will be expanded to reflect the increased resources that they have access to.

 

It's a fallacy to consider a Kickstarter project to be "owned" by the kickstarters. Crowd-funding in its current form is a donation service. When you kickstart one of these projects, you are donating, not investing. You own nothing, and you are owed nothing.

 

For my part, I'm actually a little pleased by this acquisition. For all the negative press that Facebook gets, they have always run their service in a manner that strikes me as fair. They have always kept Facebook free to use, and they have always kept the development/api side of their service free and open to developers. I would rather have Oculus VR in their hands than any number of other companies that might have been interested in VR.



#5 berzirk

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 06:53 PM

I think it's hilarious. People are talking about how OR sold out to the man, and as a result, they're going to go embrace enormous corporation's products like Sony's Morpheus, Valve's "whatever", or eventually Microsoft's "Copycat VR".

 

Congrats Kickstarters! Without your help, Palmer couldn't have become a billionaire! You have just learned you are not an investor, your are not an owner, you were a charitable contribution.

 

That product is such ass, it's been epic (no pun intended) to see people like Cliffy B now incessantly post tweets about how he doesn't understand the move, but he trusts everything OR does, so it's got to be for a great reason. It's like that somehow absolves them from responsibility if it ruins OR, or ruins the cool factor (which with the latter, it just did with a single bullet to the head).

 

I've tried a half dozen HMDs ranging from a couple hundred bucks to tens of thousands, and they all suck. At GDC Morpheus was jittery, didn't accurately track, and looked atrocious in form factor. Line around the booth and almost out the door. OR's looked smoother, again, line around the booth, but they had to constrain the experience so severely to keep people from barfing or tripping over things, that it reminded me why I hate HMDs all over again.

 

People get nauseous from them (if you say they don't, go ahead and strap one on your head for 30 minutes, low or hi res model and play an FPS), if it's a gaming peripheral, you now cannot see your controller, keyboard, or other accessories. If it's an interaction device meant to allow you to explore environments, you can't see what's around you in real life.

 

I could go on and on about even the foundation of the OR, the fact that Luckey was a student to a prof who basically wrote an open source VR codebase so that anybody could make HMDs with cell phones or panels of their own, to advance VR as a field. Luckey takes it, locks it down, makes a product out of it, and is looked at as a genius. He sourced parts and was enthusiastic. He is a buyer.

 

Anyway, long rant, but it's hilarious for me to see the buzz killed so swiftly and completely. I guess we'll wait for the next big VR advancement that gets everyone excited until they realize the fundamental way this is approached is bound to fail at the consumer level.



#6 eulogywerd21

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:20 PM

Boo Occulus, boo.


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#7 Reno Takamiya

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 03:26 AM

When you give away some of your money to any Kickstarter campaign you aren't investing in it you're donating. 


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#8 Navex

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 04:22 PM

Depends on what you define as investing. To some it's still considered investing even though you aren't profiting from it financially as you are investing money into a project you're interested in. I doubt anyone that is complaining thinks they are investors in a sense that they believe they are shareholders since they contributed.

 

In the end it's just going to be a waste of time. VR will be like the motion gaming that Wii had going for it for so long - just another fad that will be in and out. It might make enough of an impact that it will remain a new aspect of gaming but its hype will eventually die down like other things have. I think VR could be a very big thing one day but technology-wise we are years and years away from a true VR world where it's truly something to marvel at. But hey, you gotta start somewhere and this could be the beginning of that road to that advancement.



#9 kill3r7

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 04:39 PM

Luckey sold out.  He used Kickstarter as a stepping stone in order to make a product he had every intention of selling.

 

Notch, from Minecraft, sums it up perfectly:

It never seizes to amaze me how misinformed/misguided people are about how Kickstarter works. You're not investing, you are donating. You do not have any equity in the company. You as a donor get some cool swag or a prototype and that's the end of the relationship.

 

Everyone with half a brain realized that that Oculus Rift would have to be sold sooner or later. The amount of capital needed to makes something like VR succeed far exceeds what anyone can raise via Kickstarter. The disappointing part of the news was that Facebook bought them. I like many other gamers was disappointed by it but my opinion changed greatly when Valve's VR project lead chose to join them after the fact. That is a good sign in my book.

 

I'm not sure what Oculus Rift will become but it stands a better chance to succeed today than it did last week even if most gamers disagree.


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#10 dmaul1114

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 05:01 PM

In the end it's just going to be a waste of time. VR will be like the motion gaming that Wii had going for it for so long - just another fad that will be in and out. It might make enough of an impact that it will remain a new aspect of gaming but its hype will eventually die down like other things have. I think VR could be a very big thing one day but technology-wise we are years and years away from a true VR world where it's truly something to marvel at. But hey, you gotta start somewhere and this could be the beginning of that road to that advancement.

 

Yeah, I just don't see a huge market for VR in it's current form.

 

I don't think most people are going to want to:

 

1. Sit around in a helmet to game.  Plenty of people bitch about having to wear glasses for 3D for fuck's sake.

2. Be that shut off from the world around them.  Plenty of people struggle to find time to game with having to keep an eye on kids, pets etc.

 

Maybe once tech is at a point of having some star trek holdeck like stuff that doesn't require a helmet etc. it will be more popular.  Though number 2 would still be an issue for many.


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#11 berzirk

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 05:19 PM

Yeah, I just don't see a huge market for VR in it's current form.

 

I don't think most people are going to want to:

 

1. Sit around in a helmet to game.  Plenty of people bitch about having to wear glasses for 3D for fuck's sake.

2. Be that shut off from the world around them.  Plenty of people struggle to find time to game with having to keep an eye on kids, pets etc.

 

Maybe once tech is at a point of having some star trek holdeck like stuff that doesn't require a helmet etc. it will be more popular.  Though number 2 would still be an issue for many.

But more importantly, you can't use these things much longer than you would a 20min mobile game, without wanting to puke your guts out. Every year the military eats this shit up, invests in it, consumers get small glances into the "future of VR" but it's fundamentally broken. Even the best HMD, which Oculus is arguably in the top 10% of, has the problems you note, along with multiple other limitations.

 

The Kickstarter roots annoy me because of how this guy took open source work, and then effectively tries to pitch it as proprietary and special, but the naiveté by so many proclaiming this to be the VR solution of the future is frustrating. They are reading tweets from enthusiasts who have a vested interest to see it succeed through reputation or monetary investment (not donations, investment). They aren't using it day in and day out, and also discussing the limitations.

 

HMDs suck. Lessening the suck is great, but pretending that we've just discovered fire is way, waaaaay exaggerated.



#12 camoor

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 05:55 PM

I'm not sure how you define "fundamentally broken".

 

VR is still rough around the edges, but it's also obviously delivering an experience that:

 

a) produces an impressive tech demo

b) excites people. 

c) is worth alot of money to private corporations

 

The reviews I've read say that while it looks stupid from the outside, when you wear the goggles you become a believer (sounds like drinking beer). I understand that's not your opinion but it's not the only opinion out there.



#13 Equistina

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 01:18 PM

If it makes you want to puke while playing then I agree with berzirk, it's broken.

Why would I want to play something for 10-15 minutes to only puke my brains out afterwards?
And I'm sure it's worse for people who get motion sickness or have vertigo


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#14 berzirk

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 02:28 AM

I'm not sure how you define "fundamentally broken".

 

VR is still rough around the edges, but it's also obviously delivering an experience that:

 

a) produces an impressive tech demo

b) excites people. 

c) is worth alot of money to private corporations

 

The reviews I've read say that while it looks stupid from the outside, when you wear the goggles you become a believer (sounds like drinking beer). I understand that's not your opinion but it's not the only opinion out there.

For sure, mine isn't the end all be all of opinions, but (dammit can't remember the technical term right now) oculo fuckitall, basically your brain's ability to turn off the sensors that say, "what a second, something ain't quite right" has not been overcome in any VR goggles I've ever used, and again, I've used hundred thousand dollar kits, and I've used Oculus. Where Oculus wins is in the price and the design. For VR goggles, it's not that bad to hang off the front of your head. It's still far from comfortable, and you're always well aware you're wearing it, if not because the pixilation from old dev kits with lower resolution, to the improved resolution but bit of lag.

 

For that reason, I say based on the tech we have today, the approach is still fundamentally broken.

 

Then to apply it to gaming, unless you're using a gamepad, then explain to me how you're going to use the keyboard when you can't see it. Or you lose the mouse for a second and fumble around until you find it again, or throw off the glasses for sec. If it's a virtual navigation tool, how do you not trip over your chair, power cable, pet, if you're walking around your living room, while navigating a virtual spaceship?

 

Oculus is definitely not the worst, I wouldn't call it the best, for whatever reason they have benefited from the right time at the right place, and early on attracted some really well known evangelists. Great for them, but when the general community gets over the Viagra hardon from the hype, and they have to get a stiffy on their own, from nothing but the experience, I think there are going to be a lot of impotent users who will put their OR back in the closet and wait another 10 years for the next big VR thing.

 

As you note-for a tech demo, it's neato. Will someone who spends $350 be satisfied with 5 minutes here and there, experiencing one tech demo after another? Who knows. I would suggest not.

 

All my opinion of course, but considering it's pretty tightly connected to the industry I've worked in for over 7yrs, I'd call it one of the more educated opinions around CAG.



#15 berzirk

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 03:50 PM

Aha, here's a timely article going into the details of what they call "Simulator Sickness". I think the scientific term is http://en.wikipedia....o-ocular_reflex

 

The article notes great things such as pilots not being allowed to do a real flight 24hrs after being on a simulator, the fact that sickness can last days, flashbacks can occur, etc:

 

http://www.gamasutra...o_reduce_it.php

 

Not even close to an every person occurrence, but it happens enough that people are finally talking about it.



#16 camoor

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Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:29 PM

For sure, mine isn't the end all be all of opinions, but (dammit can't remember the technical term right now) oculo fuckitall, basically your brain's ability to turn off the sensors that say, "what a second, something ain't quite right" has not been overcome in any VR goggles I've ever used, and again, I've used hundred thousand dollar kits, and I've used Oculus. Where Oculus wins is in the price and the design. For VR goggles, it's not that bad to hang off the front of your head. It's still far from comfortable, and you're always well aware you're wearing it, if not because the pixilation from old dev kits with lower resolution, to the improved resolution but bit of lag.

 

For that reason, I say based on the tech we have today, the approach is still fundamentally broken.

 

Then to apply it to gaming, unless you're using a gamepad, then explain to me how you're going to use the keyboard when you can't see it. Or you lose the mouse for a second and fumble around until you find it again, or throw off the glasses for sec. If it's a virtual navigation tool, how do you not trip over your chair, power cable, pet, if you're walking around your living room, while navigating a virtual spaceship?

 

Oculus is definitely not the worst, I wouldn't call it the best, for whatever reason they have benefited from the right time at the right place, and early on attracted some really well known evangelists. Great for them, but when the general community gets over the Viagra hardon from the hype, and they have to get a stiffy on their own, from nothing but the experience, I think there are going to be a lot of impotent users who will put their OR back in the closet and wait another 10 years for the next big VR thing.

 

As you note-for a tech demo, it's neato. Will someone who spends $350 be satisfied with 5 minutes here and there, experiencing one tech demo after another? Who knows. I would suggest not.

 

All my opinion of course, but considering it's pretty tightly connected to the industry I've worked in for over 7yrs, I'd call it one of the more educated opinions around CAG.

 

Well, I would have never thought that I could get used to a controller jammed with 16 buttons, 2 joysticks, and motion control back in the day when all I had was the Atari 2600 controller. The way I see it, the trick is to fool the brain into thinking that VR is real, and as the processing power improves who knows where it could go. Some people get sick with 3D or shaky cam and others don't, doesn't mean that tech is broken.

 

I respect your opinion as someone who has seen it firsthand, I just take issue with the word "fundamentally broken". I can't bring myself to believe FB would spend 2 billion (2 billion!) to buy something "fundmentally broken".



#17 Navex

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:37 PM

VR is just another fad like motion-gaming that the Wii introduced. It will die eventually assuming it gets started up. I think one day VR will be amazing but we don't have the tech for it yet or rather we do but it's not something companies want to to bring out  or invest in yet. Years and years from now maybe as in when all of us are old, feeble pigeon feeders.



#18 berzirk

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:53 PM

Well, I would have never thought that I could get used to a controller jammed with 16 buttons, 2 joysticks, and motion control back in the day when all I had was the Atari 2600 controller. The way I see it, the trick is to fool the brain into thinking that VR is real, and as the processing power improves who knows where it could go. Some people get sick with 3D or shaky cam and others don't, doesn't mean that tech is broken.

 

I respect your opinion as someone who has seen it firsthand, I just take issue with the word "fundamentally broken". I can't bring myself to believe FB would spend 2 billion (2 billion!) to buy something "fundmentally broken".

Much smarter brains than myself provided information to that link I included. You should check it out. They go into great detail as to how and why it is broken with the tools and resources we have today. Remember, SnapChat was valued at what, $2B or something, and turned down. It wouldn't be the first time something was heavily invested in and came up short, but I wouldn't take Facebook's investment as confirmation that the device, and the industry, can be useful or profitable in the near future. Ole Oculus is establishing an absolutely shit-ton of overhead with more expensive hires, higher cost of good in the OR. They're definitely not dipping their toe in the water, they're all the way in, but we'll see if the lake is filled with piranhas or hot mermaids :P

 

Oh, and the difference between fumbling around for buttons trying to execute the digital move you're trying for, and literally vomiting all over yourself or suffering from vertigo are two very different learning curves. What the FB acquisition did for many in the media, was to quit giving OR and VR a free pass in everything and just assuming that it was totally awesome. Now people are actually getting into it deeper. It's sort of like OR was sitting at the kid's table, and they could get away with messy hair, a few boogers hanging out of their nose, wearing their superman underoos. They've been invited to the adult table now, and they've got to comb their hair, wash their face, and at least wear day clothes. They are being measured by a very different (IMO realistic) standard now. Some of the flaws in the tech are finally being discussed openly.



#19 camoor

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 05:22 PM

Much smarter brains than myself provided information to that link I included. You should check it out. They go into great detail as to how and why it is broken with the tools and resources we have today. Remember, SnapChat was valued at what, $2B or something, and turned down. It wouldn't be the first time something was heavily invested in and came up short, but I wouldn't take Facebook's investment as confirmation that the device, and the industry, can be useful or profitable in the near future. Ole Oculus is establishing an absolutely shit-ton of overhead with more expensive hires, higher cost of good in the OR. They're definitely not dipping their toe in the water, they're all the way in, but we'll see if the lake is filled with piranhas or hot mermaids :P

 

Oh, and the difference between fumbling around for buttons trying to execute the digital move you're trying for, and literally vomiting all over yourself or suffering from vertigo are two very different learning curves. What the FB acquisition did for many in the media, was to quit giving OR and VR a free pass in everything and just assuming that it was totally awesome. Now people are actually getting into it deeper. It's sort of like OR was sitting at the kid's table, and they could get away with messy hair, a few boogers hanging out of their nose, wearing their superman underoos. They've been invited to the adult table now, and they've got to comb their hair, wash their face, and at least wear day clothes. They are being measured by a very different (IMO realistic) standard now. Some of the flaws in the tech are finally being discussed openly.

The links are interesting - and I wish mainstream media articles contained more science and less hype. 

 

But do you have to call VR the kid with boogers. It just feels like you're trying to counterbalance the journalists who describe it as the second coming. 

 

This is exciting tech being worked on by top talent and backed by a major payroll. Tho only problem I see is that Facebook is involved, which could mean shitty attempts at monetization. But excepting that we should all be excited.



#20 camoor

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 05:24 PM

VR is just another fad like motion-gaming that the Wii introduced. It will die eventually assuming it gets started up. I think one day VR will be amazing but we don't have the tech for it yet or rather we do but it's not something companies want to to bring out  or invest in yet. Years and years from now maybe as in when all of us are old, feeble pigeon feeders.

I will be first in line for Pigeon Feeder VR on the Playstation 9



#21 Kazaganthi

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:28 PM

Mark Zuckerberg explains why Facebook bought the Oculus Rift

 

But seriously, http://www.technolog...in-oculus-rift/

 

Am I the only one who hears "Playstation Home" when they talk about what they want to turn Oculus Rift into?



#22 berzirk

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:47 PM

The links are interesting - and I wish mainstream media articles contained more science and less hype. 

 

But do you have to call VR the kid with boogers. It just feels like you're trying to counterbalance the journalists who describe it as the second coming. 

 

This is exciting tech being worked on by top talent and backed by a major payroll. Tho only problem I see is that Facebook is involved, which could mean shitty attempts at monetization. But excepting that we should all be excited.

That's really my point though. They got a free pass for a long time because they were a garage band. Then they showed up on MTV and all of the sudden people started criticizing the guitar player, the vocals. Dissecting with a more critical eye. It's only gotten better since the first dev kits, but Jesus Christ, have you worn that first dev kit? It's not just a piece of shit, it's bordering on medically dangerous.

 

I hope we get to a point where AR/VR is actually good, but to bring it back to my point, the technology is currently broken in trying to pull it all together. I don't think it can be done with the tools we have at our disposal, at least not in an HMD.

 

It's great that Carmack and half of Valve are on it, and that group is among the best VR minds in the industry. THAT is what's scary. With those minds, this is still where they're at.

 

But the crazy part, is that Palmer Luckey is not much more than an enthusiastic components buyer. The foundation of OR was based on open source technology that his college prof developed with the hope to establish a VR standard. Look up the applied patents. They aren't around the software.



#23 camoor

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 06:41 PM

That's really my point though. They got a free pass for a long time because they were a garage band. Then they showed up on MTV and 

But the crazy part, is that Palmer Luckey is not much more than an enthusiastic components buyer. The foundation of OR was based on open source technology that his college prof developed with the hope to establish a VR standard. Look up the applied patents. They aren't around the software.

I have to correct you on Palmer Luckey. He's an extremely rich components buyer :)



#24 berzirk

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:01 PM

And now it appears that Carmack may have been working on Oculus material while employed by id (owned by ZeniMax) and ZM ain't too happy about that. Folks, check your employment contracts. Most of us have long understood that anything we create on company time, and with company resources, belongs to your employer, not you. How Carmack could have missed that one so bad, I don't understand.

 

Somebody get the Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif ready.

 

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#25 jkanownik

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 11:44 PM

And now it appears that Carmack may have been working on Oculus material while employed by id (owned by ZeniMax) and ZM ain't too happy about that. Folks, check your employment contracts. Most of us have long understood that anything we create on company time, and with company resources, belongs to your employer, not you. How Carmack could have missed that one so bad, I don't understand.

Somebody get the Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif ready.

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It is unlikely he did it on work time. There is no legal precedent for work done on your own time that is potentially related to your job function. The MGA vs Mattel law suit was supposed to establish a legal precedent, but it turned into a circus. Both sides would likely rather settle than deal with the uncertainty of a trial.
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#26 berzirk

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:53 AM

It is unlikely he did it on work time. There is no legal precedent for work done on your own time that is potentially related to your job function. The MGA vs Mattel law suit was supposed to establish a legal precedent, but it turned into a circus. Both sides would likely rather settle than deal with the uncertainty of a trial.

But it's on both sides to prove that work was either done on personal time or on work time. Carmack was quite vocal throughout, and his own advocacy is coming back to potentially be a problem.

 

No slam dunk, but of all the ZeniMax lawsuits, this one seems to have the most merit from the outside looking in.