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Atari declares war on iOS arcade lookalikes

Atari has reportedly embarked on a crusade to take out iOS games with similarities to its extensive portfolio of classic arcade titles.

Atari's sudden spate of legal activity was first highlighted by a post on the Vector Tanks 3 Kickstarter, after developer Black Powder Media found both previous instalments of the Battlezone-like game pulled from the App Store.

"Atari appears to be paving the way for a reissuing of their classics by putting the squeeze on hundreds of apps," the post reads.

"Anything that has even a passing resemblance to an Atari classic has been issued a copyright infringement claim. It looks as though Apple complied without so much as a rebuttal or independent evaluation. Tank games, asteroid shooters, and so on have all been pulled.

"Vector Tanks and Vector Tanks Extreme! are just two victims of Atari’s gameplan. It doesn’t seem to matter that the game bears only a vague resemblance to Atari’s Battlezone. As of this week, you won't be able to download the first two apps if you haven't already got them."

Hoping to avoid a similar fate for its third title, the developer has altered its work in progress, changing the theme from tanks to hover and aircraft.

“The cruel irony here is that I tried for years to get ahold of Atari to license their IP but they seemed to have fallen off the planet. Now this. It’s very depressing," Vector Tanks creator Peter Hirschberg told VentureBeat.

Asked about the copyright claims, Atari freely admitted it was pursuing an energetic campaign against imitators.

"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," an Atari representative told Joystiq in a statement.

"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."

Thanks, CVG.

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