Atari issuing cease and desist letters to websites – huh?


My feelings over Atari recent spate of cease and desist letters to websites pertaining to the Atari 2600 are reflected in a far-more articulate response at Atomic PC’s website. I merely wanted to add my voice to the chorus.

Given Atari allegedly gave the community their blessing to develop for and celebrate the history of the Atari 2600 more than a decade ago, it seems a bit petty to go after websites covering the platform. It’s certainly within their legal right to do so, but it does beg an ethical question. Given the enduring value of the brand “Atari” is attributable in part to the ongoing development, discussion and celebration of its legacy by fans, it seems unusually short-sighted to tarnish this reputation by attacking the very people who have assisted in building the ongoing awareness, and by extension value, or Atari.

Hopefully this is the last of such tomfoolery for 2011. It rounds off a trio of arguably anti-consumerist measures by some of the big names in the gaming sector (Sony removing Linux support from the PS3; Capcom’s unoffocial “DRM” for Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D on the 3DS; and now Atari and their IP battle for URLs and websites), so hopefully we can all move on from here.


  • Frank_fjs says:

    Seems very greedy to me, it’s as simple as that.

    Who is Atari nowadays anyhow? Whoever they are, they should focus on the present and the future via innovation, releasing new games and hardware if they are so inclined, rather than trying to milk money from games and hardware that is 30 odd years old, alienating the very special people that are fans of this era of Atari. Are they really that desperate on ideas of how to make money? Pathetic if you ask me.

    I love that retro games are still alive in modern gaming by their appearing in online gaming networks. I don’t even mind paying a small sum of money for them, personally I use and enjoy the Nintendo virtual console network for the Wii, however this recent trend of persecuting retro fans under the ruse of IP interests is going too far in my opinion.

    One similar occurrence not mentioned in your article is SEGA and their Streets of Rage (remake) crack down.

  • Infogrames bought Atari a while back and is now, for all intents and purposes, Atari. The connection to the Atari of old is purely ownership of IP.

    Good call on Sega dropping an anvil on Bombergames after they completed the amazing Streets of rage Remake v5. In a perfect world Sega would have taken the game and paid them off, then converted it to run on PSN or XBLA with online play. Now *that* would be all types of awesomeness.

    On the other hand though, Sega are going back and translating Monster World IV and releasing it via XBLA and PSN, so that’s brill. The only question mark there is on which emulation engine it’ll be running on. In a perfect world, they’d be getting M2 (who, in a case of crazy circularity, were once known as Westone and developed the Wonderboy/Monster World games) to take care of that. Unfortunately, they seem to have a habit of getting Backbone to take care of the emulation duties. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if it weren’t for that fact that M2 have an incredibly solid track record with amazing emulation – the latter Sega Ages releases featured great quality emulation on the PS2, and then there’s their work on Nintendo’s VC.

    But this comment’s way too lengthy, so I’ll stop here 🙂