ZeniMax Media

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ZeniMax Media Inc.
Industry Video game industry
Founded May 1999; 19 years ago (1999-05)
Headquarters ,
Key people
Total equity US$2.5 billion[1] (2016)
Number of employees
1,500+ (2017)
Website zenimax.com

ZeniMax Media Inc. is an American video game holding company based in Rockville, Maryland. The company owns id Software (developer of the Doom and Quake series, and Rage), Arkane Studios (developer of Dishonored and Prey), MachineGames (developer of Wolfenstein: The New Order),[2] Tango Gameworks (developer of The Evil Within),[3] publisher Bethesda Softworks with its Bethesda Game Studios (developer of The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series) and ZeniMax Online Studios (developer of The Elder Scrolls Online).


ZeniMax was founded in May 1999[4] by Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver and Robert A. Altman.[5][6] It was established as a successor to Media Technology Limited, Bethesda's parent company at the time.

Weaver brought Altman on board as CEO, contributing his stock in Bethesda Softworks so that the new shell company, named ZeniMax Media, would be able to obtain funding. Weaver served initially as Chief Technology Officer of the company from 1999–2002, then moved to a non-operational role in 2002. Weaver filed a lawsuit against ZeniMax in 2002 for breach of contract, claiming he was owed US$1.2 million in severance pay.[7] In the end the case was resolved out of court. Although still the largest shareholder, Weaver no longer had any day-to-day responsibilities with Zenimax.

In 2004, ZeniMax acquired the Fallout franchise from Interplay Entertainment.[8] Bethesda's Todd Howard said in January 2007 that "We started work on Fallout 3 in late 2004 with a few people. We only had about 10 people on it until Oblivion wrapped (...)".[9] Fallout 3 was released in October 2008.

On August 1, 2007, ZeniMax announced the creation of ZeniMax Online Studios, a division headed by Matt Firor.[10] In 2012, the company announced that it was developing The Elder Scrolls Online, ultimately releasing it on April 4, 2014.

On October 30, 2007, ZeniMax announced that European broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 Media was intensifying its relationship with ZeniMax. It launched SevenGames.com, the international version of its German game platform, in December and work with ZeniMax to develop online games. ProSiebenSat.1 Media held a 9% stake in ZeniMax at the time through SBS Broadcasting, which it acquired the same year.[11][12][13] SBS Broadcasting previously acquired a 12.5% stake in ZeniMax in October 2000 as part of the partnership between the two companies at the time.[14][15] This included ZeniMax's e-Nexus Studios subsidiary, developing European entertainment portals and web sites for SBS,[16][17] as well as other stock purchase agreements between SBS and ZeniMax.[18]

In September 2009, ZeniMax acquired rights to the Prey video game franchise.[19] In December 2009, ZeniMax acquired publishing rights to the id Software game Rage. The game was to be published by Electronic Arts.[20]

On March 3, 2011, ZeniMax announced a partnership with the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts to support its Interactive Media Division with a comprehensive educational program of guest lectures and internships.[21]

Investors and financials

In 2000, SBS Broadcasting acquired a 12.5% stake as part of the partnership between the two companies. Its Chairman and CEO, Harry Sloan, became a ZeniMax board member a year prior to that. In 2016, Prosieben sold its stake in ZeniMax for 30 million euros.[22][23]

As of 2007, Weaver held a 33% stake in the company.[7] In 2007, it was valued at $1.2 billion, when it raised $300 million from Providence Equity Partners in exchange for a 25% stake.[24][25][26] In 2010, Providence invested another $150 million for an undisclosed stake.[27][28] In May 2016, it was valued at $2.5 billion.[1]

Oculus lawsuit

In May 2014, ZeniMax sent a letter to Facebook and Oculus VR asserting that any contributions that John Carmack made to the Oculus Rift project are the intellectual property of ZeniMax, stating that "ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings."

On May 21, 2014, ZeniMax filed a lawsuit against Oculus.[29][30] On June 25, 2014, Oculus filed an official response to the lawsuit. Oculus claimed ZeniMax was falsely claiming ownership to take advantage of the acquisition by Facebook. Oculus also claimed that the Oculus Rift did not share a single line of code or any technology with ZeniMax's code and technology.[31][32]

On February 1, 2017 a Dallas, Texas jury awarded ZeniMax $500 million in their lawsuit against Oculus.[33] The jury found that Oculus did not misappropriate ZeniMax trade secrets, but had violated ZeniMax's copyrights and trademarks in addition to violating a non-disclosure agreement.[34]





  1. ^ a b Kiel, Porter (May 11, 2016). "Providence Said to Weigh Options for Video-Game Maker ZeniMax". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Richardson, Stuart (November 5, 2010). "Buyout brings birth of ZeniMax Sweden â?? report". Develop. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Garratt, Patrick (October 28, 2010). "Boom: Zenimax buys Tango and Shinji Mikami". VG247. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "Sec Form D" (PDF). Sec.gov. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  5. ^ "Christopher Weaver vs ZeniMax Media" (PDF). courts.state.md.us. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play". Morgan Ramsay. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Blancato, Joe (February 6, 2007). "Bethesda:The Right Direction". The Escapist. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "Facing Fallout". Edge. April 2, 2007. Archived from the original on August 20, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  9. ^ Thorsen, Tor (January 23, 2007). "Fallout 3 360-bound?". www.gamestop.com. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  10. ^ "ZeniMax Media Announces Establishment of Online Gaming Division – ZeniMax Online Studios". ZeniMax.com. August 1, 2007. Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Meza, Ed (October 30, 2007). "ProSieben tightens hold on ZeniMax". Variety. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  12. ^ "Global Finance and the Development of Regional Clusters:Tracing Paths in Munich's Film & TV Industry" (PDF). Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Zademach. May 1, 2009. p. 22. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  13. ^ Scott, Roxborough (October 31, 2007). "Game time for ProSiebenSat.1". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  14. ^ "SBS BROADCASTING S.A." SEC. May 30, 2003. p. 66. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  15. ^ "FORM 6-K". SEC. October 23, 2003. p. 14. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  17. ^ "SBS Broadcasting SA Announces Major European Internet Initiatives; SBS Invests in Bidlet and Partners with Sweden's Largest Auction Site". PR Newswire. November 17, 1999. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  18. ^ "FORM 20-F/A". SEC. May 23, 2003. p. 4,6. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  19. ^ Thorsen, Tor (September 8, 2009). "Prey IP acquired by id/Bethesda parent ZeniMax?". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 11, 2016.
  20. ^ Purchese, Robert (December 15, 2009). "Bethesda takes Rage from EA". Eurogamer. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
  21. ^ "ZeniMax Partners with USC School of Cinematic Arts". ZeniMax.com. March 3, 2011. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  22. ^ "ProSiebenSat.1 Media Q2/H1 2016 IR Presentation" (PDF). August 4, 2016. p. 56. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  23. ^ "Online-Boom hilft ProSiebenSat.1 über EM-Delle hinweg(In German)". August 4, 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  24. ^ "RR Donnelley Private Equity". Docstoc.com. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  25. ^ "ZeniMax Media Buys DOOM Maker | peHUBpeHUB". Pehub.com. June 25, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  26. ^ "ZeniMax Media Receives $300 Million Investment From Providence Equity Partners". ZeniMax.com. October 25, 2007. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  27. ^ Hoffman, Liz (May 1, 2014). "Oculus, Facebook Face Challenge to Rights Over 'Rift'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  28. ^ "ZeniMax Media Receives $150 Million Investment From Providence Equity Partners". ZeniMax.com. October 6, 2010. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  29. ^ Hollister, Sean. "Oculus and Facebook face legal challenge from John Carmack's former employer". The Verge. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  30. ^ Hollister, Sean. "One document could decide whether Oculus owes ZeniMax millions". The Verge. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  31. ^ Sarkar, Samit (June 25, 2014). "Oculus: ZeniMax suit is a 'transparent attempt to take advantage' of Facebook acquisitione". Polygon. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  32. ^ Orland, Kyle (January 16, 2017). "Oculus accused of destroying evidence, Zuckerberg to testify in VR theft trial". Ars Technica. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  33. ^ Matney, Lucas. "Jury awards ZeniMax $500 million in Oculus VR lawsuit". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  34. ^ Orland, Kyle (February 1, 2017). "Oculus, execs liable for $500 million in ZeniMax VR trial". Ars Technica. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  35. ^ "Bethesda Game Studios Opens Montreal Office". ZeniMax.com. December 9, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  36. ^ Grandstaff, Matt (October 3, 2012). "Welcome to Battlecry Studios! | Bethesda Blog". Bethblog.com. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  37. ^ "Escalation Studios Is Now Bethesda Game Studios Dallas". Variety. August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  38. ^ Remo, Chris (June 24, 2009). "Bethesda Parent ZeniMax Acquires id Software". Gamasutra. Retrieved June 24, 2009.
  39. ^ "ZeniMax Media Acquires Arkane Studios". ZeniMax.com. August 12, 2010. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  40. ^ Grandstaff, Matt (October 28, 2010). "Tango Gameworks, led by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, joins ZeniMax | Bethesda Blog". Bethblog.com. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  41. ^ Gilbert, Ben (November 5, 2010). "Machinegames purchased by ZeniMax Media, becomes ZeniMax Sweden". Joystiq. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
  42. ^ Barron, James (January 19, 2000). "PUBLIC LIVES". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
  43. ^ Hilpert, Mark (December 22, 1997). "ThunderWave makes a big splash at Getty Center". Washington Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved August 25, 2016.

External links

  • Official website
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