GameSentral Rewind #039

Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.

Judge denies motion to dismiss Oculus, ZeniMax lawsuit

Oculus Rift

Motions by Facebook, Oculus VR, and Palmer Luckey to dismiss the federal lawsuit filed against the trio by ZeniMax Media over accusations of stolen trade secrets have been dismissed by U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis, according to court documents.

That means that the case will proceed.

In the lawsuit, ZeniMax alleges that the Oculus Rift is being constructed on trade secrets that Oculus’ founder and half a dozen former ZeniMax employees now working at the Facebook-owned company improperly possess. The company also argued that Oculus is wrongfully benefitting from years and millions of dollars of ZeniMax research and, rather than agreeing to a business agreement that would give ZeniMax a two percent stake in the company, Oculus began poaching its employees.

In the July 27th ruling that denied Luckey and Oculus VR’s motion to dismiss, Solis addressed the three different counts the two entities wanted dismissed. Specifically, the defendants in the case were seeking to dismiss the counts that dealt with the misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of a non-disclosure agreement, and unjust enrichment.

The NDA wasn’t enforceable, according to the defendants, because the term “proper purpose” wasn’t defined and Luckey wasn’t given anything in return for his promise to keep things secret. The judge dismissed that argument out of hand. The judge also dismissed the argument that ZeniMax didn’t take reasonable steps to maintain the secrecy of its trade secrets. Finally, the defendants argued that unjust enrichment isn’t a cause of action in Texas, but the judge argued that recent cases questioned that notion.

On Monday, Solis ruled to deny Facebook’s motion to dismiss five counts of the lawsuit using much of the same logic as his decision on Luckey and Oculus’ motion.

A chief issue, according to Solis, was that the motions were based on questions of fact, which have to be settled in court, not questions of law, which can lead to things like a dismissal.

Currently, the case is set to proceed with a discovery deadline of next February and a preliminary jury trial date of August 1st.

Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries’ commercial failure sends developer to bankruptcy

Woolfe The Red Hood Diaries

Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries, a fantasy-themed 3D platformer, released on Steam this March. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that brought the team over $72K and a community of nearly 2,400 backers, it failed to sell enough copies on the open market. Today, developer GRIN announced that it’s shutting its doors.

“It’s done, there is no way back. We tried, we failed. The team is now dismantled and we have requested bankruptcy [as we are] unable to pay outstanding bills.”

-Wim Wouters, GRIN founder and CEO

Steamspy, a web tool that samples available user data to estimate Steam sales, has revealed that the game is part of the collection of over 38,000 customers.

GRIN, based in Antwerp, Belgium was a contract software development house that produced educational software and training simulations to pay the bills.

“Once the sales numbers began rolling in, the consequences of our beautiful adventure started to become painfully clear.

“I guess our public silence the last few months already said a lot. It is not out of disrespect that our communication dropped to almost zero… it is out of shame. With Woofle being the most passion-driven thing we have ever created, it feels horrible to live with the feeling we let you down.

“All the backer stickers and letters of enlistment just need a stamp. All the poster sets printed, signed, and ready. The artwork is ready to be printed, the soundtrack is ready for distribution, the DVD case is ready for production. But we have literally no money whatsoever to pay for stamps, let alone print the artbooks and dvd-cases.

“So with a heavy heart, I have to communicate that as of now the IP of Woolfe, all of the assets and source code is now for sale via the appointed trustee.”

-Wim Wouters

Woolfe is still available on Steam.

ESL adopts World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited substances list

Electronic_Sports_League

The Electronic Sports League has adopted a list of banned substances compiled by the World Anti-Doping Agency, according to a Reddit post.

“Our main goal is and always will be to maintain the fair play spirit and the integrity of our competitions, and we’re confident that the anti-doping policy is an important improvement that will help us advance as a sport. It is a small, but in our eyes essential and meaningful step forward for professional gamers across all games, ESL as an event organizer, and the esports industry as a whole. There were a lot of questions left unanswered since the first announcement, and today we’re ready to share more information with you.”

-The Electronic Sports League, in a Reddit post

This announcement follows Kory “Semphis” Friesen’s admission that he used Adderall, a stimulant typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), during the ESL One Katowice event in March.

The ESL will test randomly and make exceptions for banned substances that competitors have a prescription for, like Adderall. Before the start of the first match, competitors will be required to provide proof like a letter from a physician “that they need this specific medication.”

Banned substances include marijuana, which the ESL will prohibit the use of “from the start of the first day until the last day of competition,” anabolic agents like steroids and growth hormones, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s website. WADA prohibits the use of some substances at all times, others during competition, and still others only in particular sports.

Testing positive could result in a range of punishments like reduced prize money and tournament points to disqualification and up to a two-year ban from ESL events.

While the ESL originally planned to perform skin tests, it “came to the conclusion that saliva tests are [a] better fit.”

“Tests will be performed at our discretion at any time during tournament days, and will take place in a designated testing area. Naturally, player’s privacy comes first.”

-The ESL

Super Mario Maker supports over 50 amiibo, lets you make music

Nintendo has released new details on its upcoming Super Mario Maker Wii U game, in a new overview video (embedded above), revealing that over 50 amiibo will be supported in the game, and that players will be able to make musical levels using special blocks.

Players will be able to tap a compatible amiibo to the Wii U’s GamePad, then use that character in the game’s eight-bit Super Mario Bros.-themed levels. The video shows Link, Wii Fit Trainer, Bowser, Luigi, and Kirby in action, but characters like Metroid’s Samsus, Kid Icarus’ Pit, and Punch-Out!!’s Little Mac will also be supported. Even third-party characters like Pac-Man and Mega Man will apparently work with Super Mario Maker.

The video shows off the Super Mario Bros. 30th anniversary Mario amiibo, which launches around Super Mario Maker’s launch, will unlock mustachioed enemies and seems to give Mario the ability to smash through otherwise unbreakable blocks.

Interestingly, the video also shows what Nintendo considers an unbeatable level, one where the end-of-level flagpole is surrounded by blocks that only giant Mario would be able to smash through.

Players will be able to turn their custom designed Super Mario Maker levels into musical creations. As the video demonstrates, note blocks can be turned into music blocks that play different notes when touched. There’s also a sound effect feature that will let players add aural flair to the game, including custom-recorded sound effects recorded with the GamePad’s microphone.

If all that sounds like a lot to grasp, the game will dole out new editing features over time. Players will get access to a small amount of level-design tools on day one, according to the video. Spend at least five minutes with those tools, and they’ll get more the next day.

Super Mario Maker launches for the Wii U on September 11th.

Star Wars Battlefront takes Gamescom’s best-in-show honors

Star Wars Battlefront

Gamescom has set another attendance record, and Star Wars Battlefront took the best-in-show honors at Europe’s largest video game expo.

The event drew 345,000 visitors, up 10,000 from last year. Virtual reality and eSports exhibits helped grow the expo and were popular attractions.

Star Wars Battlefront won the best of Gamescom, best PlayStation, best console, best PC, and best online multiplayer game awards.

Next year’s Gamescom will be from August 17th-August 21st, 2016 in Cologne, Germany.

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