Atari has recently put a copyright infringement claim on two games by Black Powder Media. The iOS games, Vector Tank and Vector Tank Extreme, allegedly look similar to the ancient “Battlezone” game. Black Powder Media claim that they have contacted Atari about working on a Battlezone remake for iOS devices however, Atari apparently never got back to them.
Black Powder Media has updated their kickstarter home page with a statement saying that Atari has used their “special relationship” with Apple to “scrub” the iOS store of any competition. They claim that Atari has placed copyright infringement on “hundreds” of apps.
I don’t blame Atari one bit, however maybe they are taking things too far. However they do seem to be in the legal right. Vector Tanks does look similar to Battlezone. However, it’s unfortunate that they never got back to Black Powder Media when they were actually trying to go through the correct channels. I guess Atari should expect this kind of thing for not communicating properly. They may not have said yes, but they didn’t say no either.
Here is Atari’s take on all of this:
For companies like Atari, our intellectual property portfolio is our most valued asset. 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. We have been actively engaging with numerous established and up and coming developers to help us re-imagine our iconic franchises, and outside app developers have already helped us produce two top 10 mobile game successes in Asteroids: Gunner and Breakout: Boost. We look forward to further developing strong relationships with the indie app development community through additional games that we will be releasing in the future.
Blah blah blah blah blah. Get the stick out of your behind Atari and try to work with these people. As I’ve mentioned, Battlezone (and other titles) is old and ancient so stop whining and start communicating.