Indie Says Atari’s On Warpath Against iPhone Apps With ‘Even A Passing Resemblance’ To Their Old Games

Indie Says Atari’s On Warpath Against iPhone Apps With ‘Even A Passing Resemblance’ To Their Old Games

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]


  • Can’t really fault them for that. If they compete in the same game space without vigorously defending their IP, it not longer remains their IP.

    Any company would do exactly the same.

  • I don’t see the problem. Indie developer does something unoriginal and rips off old game, profits… Why shouldn’t the original developer profit from their arrogance?

  • The trouble is there’s only so many ways you can draw a tank and a bunch of enemies with vector lines. It can be based on a completely different premise, but as long as it has an artistic similarity through the concept of using vector art to draw the game, Atari will see someone trying to rip off Battlezone.

  • You can copy it as much as you want. As long as you don’t use their art, programming or logos. Sounds like Apple removed it.

  • Big fan of battlezone and Vector Tanks but seriously Atari has done nothing in this space which an indie filled…Atari better stump up and grow a pair and produce something in this space otherwise they are just a bunch of ftards threatening the small guy based on stuff they did 30 years ago. Not happy with this lazy bully tactics from Atari if they have produced nothing …

    • I haven’t played the new game, but if it’s just a port of the old game, then it’s a copyright infringement.

      Stephen King’s The Stand is >30 years old, but that doesn’t mean I can put my name on it and start selling it 🙂

      • There was a style similarity between vector tanks and battlezone but VT was a new game with power ups (nukes FTW!) … Sorry but there should be some sort of statute on lazy devs that don’t use their IP, then indies can use it until they get their lazy fingers out of their arses…I wouldn’t mind if Atari had released their own version…but they haven’t and are just being dicks.

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