Vector Tanks was around for at least three years on the iTunes App Store and looked a lot like Battlezone the whole time. It isn't there anymore. Atari recently sent legal papers over to the game's developer, Black Powder Media, which now warns other indie developers that "anything that has even a passing resemblance to an Atari classic" can expect to see a copyright infringement claim.
Atari has responded; Develop, which first noticed Black Powder's statement, says the firm considers its intellectual property portfolio its "most valued asset" and one it must defend.
"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," Atari told Develop in a statement.
Black Powder did not say if it voluntarily removed Vector Tanks and Vector Tanks Extreme or if Apple did so, but the studio did complain that "thanks to their special relationship with Apple, Atari has successfully scrubbed the app store of their perceived competition".
Atari has published Breakout and Asteroids games for Android and iOS devices and says it has plans to publish more of them, ones also developed by indie studios. Doesn't sound like Black Powder Media will be one of them.
Atari: We Need to Defend Our IP [Develop]