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ZeniMax Media Inc. is an American video game holding company based in Rockville, Maryland, and founded in 1999. The company owns id Software (developer of the Doom, Quake and Rage series), 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 Media Inc.
Private
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded1999; 20 years ago (1999)
Founders
Headquarters,
U.S.
Key people
Total equityUS$2.5 billion[1] (2016)
Number of employees
1,500+ (2017)
Subsidiaries
Websitezenimax.com

Contents

HistoryEdit

ZeniMax was founded in 1999 by Bethesda Softworks founder Christopher Weaver and Robert A. Altman.[4][5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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 (...)".[8] 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.[9] 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.[10][11][12] 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.[13][14] This included ZeniMax's e-Nexus Studios subsidiary, developing European entertainment portals and web sites for SBS,[15][16] as well as other stock purchase agreements between SBS and ZeniMax.[17]

In September 2009, ZeniMax acquired rights to the Prey video game franchise.[18] In December 2009, ZeniMax acquired publishing rights to the id Software game Rage. The game was to be published by Electronic Arts.[19]

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.[20]

Investors and financialsEdit

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.[21][22]

As of 2007, Weaver held a 33% stake in the company.[6] In 2007, it was valued at $1.2 billion, when it raised $300 million from Providence Equity Partners in exchange for a 25% stake.[23][24][25] In 2010, Providence invested another $150 million for an undisclosed stake.[26][27] In May 2016, it was valued at $2.5 billion.[1]

Oculus lawsuitEdit

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.[28][29] 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.[30][31]

On February 1, 2017 a Dallas, Texas jury awarded ZeniMax $500 million in their lawsuit against Oculus.[32] 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.[33]

SubsidiariesEdit

CurrentEdit

DefunctEdit

  • e-Nexus Studios; headed by former The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon.[41]
  • XL Translab; acquired in 1997 by Bethesda Softworks, defunct date unknown.[42]
  • Vir2L Studios in Washington, D.C.; acquired in 1999, closed in 2010.
  • Mud Duck Productions; founded in 2002, closed in 2007.
  • Flashpoint Productions in Olympia, Washington; acquired in 1995 by Bethesda Softworks, defunct date unknown.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Kiel, Porter (May 11, 2016). "Providence Said to Weigh Options for Video-Game Maker ZeniMax". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on June 21, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Richardson, Stuart (November 5, 2010). "Buyout brings birth of ZeniMax Sweden â?? report". Develop. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Garratt, Patrick (October 28, 2010). "Boom: Zenimax buys Tango and Shinji Mikami". VG247. Archived from the original on October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ "Christopher Weaver vs ZeniMax Media" (PDF). courts.state.md.us. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  5. ^ Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play. Morgan Ramsay. January 31, 2012. ISBN 9781430233510. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
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  22. ^ "Online-Boom hilft ProSiebenSat.1 über EM-Delle hinweg(In German)". Reuters. August 4, 2016. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
  23. ^ "RR Donnelley Private Equity". Docstoc.com. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  24. ^ "ZeniMax Media Buys DOOM Maker | peHUBpeHUB". Pehub.com. June 25, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  25. ^ "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.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
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  27. ^ "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.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
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  29. ^ Hollister, Sean (May 2014). "One document could decide whether Oculus owes ZeniMax millions". The Verge. Archived from the original on May 2, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  30. ^ Sarkar, Samit (June 25, 2014). "Oculus: ZeniMax suit is a 'transparent attempt to take advantage' of Facebook acquisitione". Polygon. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
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  32. ^ Matney, Lucas. "Jury awards ZeniMax $500 million in Oculus VR lawsuit". TechCrunch. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  33. ^ Orland, Kyle (February 1, 2017). "Oculus, execs liable for $500 million in ZeniMax VR trial". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on February 1, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  34. ^ "Bethesda Game Studios Opens Montreal Office". ZeniMax.com. December 9, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
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  38. ^ "ZeniMax Media Acquires Arkane Studios". ZeniMax.com. August 12, 2010. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved July 20, 2016.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  39. ^ Grandstaff, Matt (October 28, 2010). "Tango Gameworks, led by Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, joins ZeniMax | Bethesda Blog". Bethblog.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
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External linksEdit