In honour of Pong's 40th anniversary, publisher Atari is now taking entries for what it calls the "Pong Indie Developer Challenge," it said today. For a shot at winning $US100,000 and a publishing agreement with Atari, you can dream up your own version of Pong and draw up "at the very least" a design document.
You have until March 31 to submit your take on Pong, after which it will be judged by a panel including legendary Atari founder Nolan Bushnell. Three winners will get prize money and the chance to publish their games on the Apple Store.
At least one indie developer has a problem with the way Atari has approached this contest. International Game Developers Association Chair Brian Robbins wrote an article on Gamasutra today condemning the 40-year-old publisher for what he says appears to be a "thinly veiled [attempt] to snatch up great ideas on ridiculously bad terms".
Atari wins big as they get to cherry pick the very best ideas developers submit with absolutely no risk or costs. They then stand to make a huge profit on the resulting product long with terms that practically guarantee they will be profitable long before the developers see any sort of reasonable return for their efforts.
This kind of contest preys on developers who want to jump at the chance to work with a huge brand, and think it could be a great opportunity to make their big break. The reality is that the terms of this contest [exploit] developers and only provide benefit to the sponsors putting it on.
Pong Indie Developer Challenge [Atari]