Last week, Ars published a story about the newest version of SteamVR, a virtual reality system made by Valve Software. The piece includes interviews with game designers praising the new system as well as writer Sam Machkovech’s own experience using SteamVR at Valve’s office in Bellevue, Washington.
For VR enthusiasts, it was all good news — but the article got some surprising pushback.
On June 16, Ars Technica was contacted by IMAX Corporation. The company said our story required a retraction because it included a brief reference to IMAX — included without IMAX’s permission. “Any unauthorized use of our trademark is expressly forbidden,” IMAX’s Deputy General Counsel G. Mary Ruby wrote in a letter (PDF
The letter is surprising in several ways. First of all, the article isn’t about IMAX. The single reference to IMAX in the story is a quote from Alex Schwartz, a game designer interviewed by Machkovech. Schwartz predicted that SteamVR could take off with consumers despite the fact that the room-sized system takes up a lot of space. “It’s like saying, ‘I have an IMAX theater in my house,'” he told Machkovech. “It’s so much better that we can get away with a cumbersome setup.”
In other words — Schwartz thinks SteamVR is awesome, and to express its awesomeness, he compared it to IMAX, another thing he clearly thinks is awesome. His quote was made part of the story’s headline.