Old-time game developer Atari laid down the law in the App Store, requesting that Apple remove games that are similar to Atari’s titles. Apple promptly complied. Black Powder Games, developer of Vector Tanks (one of the titles removed from the App Store), cites a special relationship between Atari and Apple as the reason for the quick response.
Atari has reportedly been applying legal pressure to developers which it believes are infringing on its intellectual property rights, despite the developers affected claiming that attempts had been made on their part to reach an agreement.
As Gamesindustry.biz reports (pointed out by The Loop), the App Store has now been cleared of apps that Atari believes infringe on their intellectual property, marking a new tactic for the company, in spite of their 2010 declaration that they would work closely with game developers in these instances.
Atari has responded to negative attention surrounding the removal of games such as Vector Tanks by issuing the following statement to Joystiq:
“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.”
Its unclear why Atari and Apple might have a “special relationship,” or why Atari has suddenly changed their policy about working with software developers rather than strong-arming them.