[Update] Atari defends firing at competing iOS games

Posted on January 4, 2012 - 9:00pm by Lauren Moore

[Update] Atari is now defending their actions after targeting a number of App Store indie games with resemblances to classic Atari games:

"While we have great respect for the indie developer community and greatly appreciate the enthusiasm that they have for our renowned properties, we need to vigorously protect our intellectual property and ensure that it is represented in highly innovative games," the company explained to Develop.

Apple has yet to comment on the events.

[Original post] Atari has "scrubbed" the App Store of a number of indie iOS titles which resemble anything from Atari's back catalog of games, according to one production company.

Black Powder Media, the production company behind indie iOS Vector Tanks titles, claims legal action threats from Atari caused the company to remove Vector Tanks and Vector Tanks Extreme from the app store because "It doesn't seem to matter that the games bears only a vague resemblance to Atari's Battlezone."

A statement on the latest Vector Tank 3''s Kickstarter page  alleged that they weren't the only company suffering from Atari's actions, and claimed that hundreds of apps had been targeted to make way for the reissuing of Atari classics.

"Anything that has even a passing resemblance to an Atari classic has been issued a copyright infringement claim," it said.

The company went on to further claim that Atari appears to have met little resistance from Apple in forcing out a number of indie titles.

"So - thanks to their special relationship with Apple - Atari has successfully scrubbed the app store of their perceived competition. It looks as though Apple complied without so much as a rebuttal or independent evaluation," the statement said.

Vector Tanks programmer Peter Hirschberg discussed the situation with VentureBeat, saying:

“The cruel irony here is that I tried for years to get ahold of Atari to license their IP but they seemed to have fallen off the planet. Now this. It’s very depressing.”

Personally, I would say Vector Tanks bears slightly more than a "vague resemblance" to Battlezone, but it's still sad to see Atari going after an indie game that seems to be paying homage more than anything.

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