Atari Clearing House in the App Store

Iconic game developer Atari has laid a heavy hand on the App Store and cleared it of apps it believes infringe on its intellectual property. This is a new tactic for the company and one that flies in the face of a 2010 proclamation that it would work with game developers. reported that Black Powder Media had it’s game Vector Tanks removed from the App Store at Atari’s request. Vector Tanks bears a resemblance to the Atari title Battlezone. 

Vector Tanks 3 Nixed

Vector Tanks 3 Nixed

In a statement, Black Powder said “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 a rebuttal or independent evaluation.”

Black Powder had made attempts to contact and work with Atari in the past, reportedly with no response. Black Powder programmer Peter Hirschberg, who worked on Vector Tanks, complained “The cruel irony here is that I tried for years to get hold of Atari to license their IP but they seemed to have fallen off the planet.”

A little over a year ago, Atari’s GO initiative and its new head, Thom Kozik, went on record as wanting to work with developers that it believed might be infringing on its intellectual property, rather than prosecute them.

It tried to win over developers into working with Atari rather than building knock-off games. This new tactic has the potential to be quite damaging to those very same developers.

In response to the attention the removal of Vector Tanks has received, the company released a statement to Joystiq saying:

“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.”

Thanks to The Loop for the heads up.