Atari is reportedly threatening legal action against developers whose games the company believes infringe on its IP rights.
A post on Kickstarter by Los Angeles-based Black Powder Games claims that Atari enforced the removal from the iOS App Store of two of its games, Vector Tanks and Vector Tanks Extreme, due to their resemblance to Atari classic Battlezone.
"Atari appears to be paving the way for a reissuing of their classics by putting the squeeze on hundreds of apps," the developer writes. "Anything that has even a passing resemblance to an Atari classic has been issued [with] a copyright infringement claim.
"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 [an opportunity for] rebuttal or independent evaluation. Tank games, asteroid shooters and so on have all been pulled."
It appears Atari is clearing the way for its own remake of Battlezone for iOS. The company has already released Asteroids Gunner, a free-to-play game based on its arcade classic Asteroids with a heavy focus on microtransactions. Another iOS game, Atari's Greatest Hits, a free download with 100 arcade and Atari 2600 titles available through in-app purchase, was released last August.
Speaking to VentureBeat, Vector Tanks programmer Peter Hirschberg claimed he had tried in the past to secure Atari's permission to base his game on the company's IP, "but they seemed to have fallen off the planet. Now this. It's very depressing." Black Powder is now at work on The Visceral Adventures Of Vic Vector, which the studio says on Kickstarter is "truly a new classic that cannot fall under the Atari claw."