Want to win $100,000? Just make Pong interesting!

Did you know it’s the 40th anniversary of Pong this year? Fortunately, Atari has been keeping a close eye on the calendar and has devised a pretty thoughtful gift for the aging video game.

The Pong Indie Developer Challenge has officially kicked off, and indie developers around the world have been given the task of making Pong relevant.


...can you make this relevant?

If your re-imagining of the classic game is considered the best, you’ll take home $100,000, and your project will go into production! (And before you ask, there’s a community-voted part as well, with the final competition be judged by an impressive team including Pocket God creator Dave Castelnuovo and Atari legend Nolan Bushnell.)

Jim Wilson, CEO of Atari explains:

The Pong Indie Developer Challenge is a great opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary of an iconic game franchise. We are enthusiastic about working with the independent developer community to evolve Pong through a wide variety of creative concepts and gameplay experiences that will further engage our Atari fan base and introduce new consumers to this pioneering video game franchise.

Your mission: Design and submit your original interpretation of Pong for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Finalists will have their games launched on the App Store a little later this year, with the grand prize also including professional development, creative resources and full marketing support from Atari.

The competition is only running until March 31st, 2012 – while that might seem like a fair way off, time flies when you’re playing Pong – hop to it!

To learn more, head to the official Pong Indie Developer Challenge website and sign up.

One word of caution, however: The contest very carefully doesn’t mention anything about who owns the rights to the final game. The assumption, therefore, is that all rights are given to Atari, either on submission or when you win. This means that while you might snag a hefty $100,000 payday, you won’t see any additional royalties or extra payments earned by the game in the future. While it might be a good idea to not submit that one great idea you’ve got bubbling away inside your skull, take a few moments to consider this. It may not be as bad as you think: How much money do you really expect to make from a Pong rip-off game in the App Store anyway, and how much do you expect to have to fork out in legal fees for the rights to use elements of the original game?

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