You didn’t think we were done with this, did you?
Last month, Oculus lost a court case that saw it have to fork over $500 million to Bethesda owner Zenimax, but that’s not the end of this spate of legal litigation, oh no. Now former id Software head John Carmack, whose shift over to Oculus was central to the lawsuit, has filed his own claim against his former employer citing “breach of its contractual obligations” resulting from its purchase of id. How much does Mr Carmack want, I hear you ask? A whopping $22.5 million. That’s a lot of Doom money.
In the allegation, Carmack claims that he’s not been paid by Zenimax because of "sour grapes", and you know what they say about sour grapes: foul wine. That’s not actually a saying, but it should be. In response to Carmack’s barbs, Zenimax said that the former id man is "lacking in remorse" and "faithless".
Basically, what this all boils down to is this: back in 2009, id Software (which Carmack co-founded) was sold to Zenimax for $150 million, a figure split between the firm’s shareholders, and Carmack argues that even though he’s been paid tens of millions already, he’s still due $22,559,047.77. Carmack wants that money, and also claims that Zenimax is obligated to buy back the $22.5m in Zenimax shares he was already given as part of the id buy-out.
“Now that the final installment of that bill is coming due, ZeniMax is simply refusing to pay," said Carmack’s lawyers. "But sour grapes is not an affirmative defense to breach of contract.”
Zenimax hasn’t minced its words with this, and issued a statement to The Dallas Morning News saying: "Apparently lacking in remorse, and disregarding the evidence of his many faithless acts and violations of law, Mr. Carmack has decided to try again."
If this wasn’t already silly enough, it’s likely that Zenimax may have not actually officially refused to pay up. The lawsuit includes statements such as “the highly likely event of ZeniMax’s upcoming refusal to honor the put option” and “seemingly inevitable refusal to honor its obligation to pay the remainder of the purchase price”.
Oculus will hope that this is the last time it sees its senior executives in court for a while so it can actually get on and, y’know, make stuff.