Crowdfunding is a marvelous avenue for getting your idea out there to millions of people who will potentially help fund it. The key aspect here, however, is that it is indeed 100% your idea. Today a campaign for Asteroids HD launched and, while a totally respectable concept, the developers at NewWorldCoders are almost certainly going to need to change that name – and fast. Sure, “asteroids” are a real thing and not inherently copyrighted, but a very famous video game by the name of Asteroids is owned by Atari. To name your game “Asteroids HD” will be viewed by Atari as an intent to profit off their property, regardless of what the team actually meant.
It’s a shame because it definitely sounds like a fun new title. Players take control of a ship and try to survive through waves of aliens online. There are weapon and armor upgrades, multiple ships, and three confirmed gameplay modes. Even if you discount the high asking Kickstarter goal of $150,000 there’s a good chance this project will get hit with a DMCA complaint before its set ending date in March. Atari have never levied an intellectual property complaint against campaigns on Kickstarter, but unfortunately this may just be the completely wrong time for Asteroids HD regardless.
I say this because Atari recently announced they were publishing a new game called Asteroids: Outpost. This title actually takes very little from the actual arcade classic, but it does utilize the familiar name. As such, their lawyers may be prepared to quickly put a stop to anything which may “confuse” the gaming public.