Sunday, June 23, 2024

Adobe Targets Indie Game Emulator Delta Over Logo Dispute

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  • Delta, a retro game emulator, soared to the top of the App Store charts after Apple’s guideline changes.
  • Adobe claimed Delta’s logo was too similar to its own, prompting legal threats.
  • Delta redesigned its logo to avoid legal issues and plans a final update soon.

After Apple relaxed its App Store guidelines to allow game emulators, Delta — a retro game emulator that’s been in development for a decade — surged to the top of the App Store charts.

However, the newfound popularity also brought Delta under legal scrutiny from Adobe, which claimed that Delta’s logo looked too similar to its own.

Delta was created by developer Riley Testut, who began his journey into game emulation by figuring out how to load games onto graphing calculators.

He later turned his attention to iOS, creating GBA4iOS, an emulator that let users play Game Boy Advance games on their iPhones without needing to jailbreak the device.

GBA4iOS was immensely popular, with millions of users, but Apple eventually closed the loophole that allowed it to function.

With Apple now facing regulatory pressure to allow more competition in its App Store, the company started permitting game emulators in April.

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This change has opened up new opportunities for developers who previously couldn’t access the App Store’s vast user base.

Apple seems to prefer hosting these apps rather than competing with alternative app stores where banned apps could gain traction.

Testut seized this opportunity and launched Delta, which quickly became the No. 1 app on the App Store. The app held its top position for weeks and has been downloaded millions of times.

Even now, more than a month after its release, Delta remains popular, ranking as the No. 33 app overall in the U.S. App Store. Meanwhile, another emulator, PPSSPP, currently holds the No. 5 spot.

However, the spotlight has its downsides. While GBA4iOS managed to stay under the radar, Delta’s success brought it more attention — including from Adobe.

According to a post on Mastodon, Adobe threatened legal action because it believed Delta’s logo was too similar to its own.

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“Adobe is threatening legal action because they think our logos are too similar — so we changed it,” the post read. “This new icon is an inspired design by Caroline Moore (@carolinemoore@threads.net), we hope y’all love it as much as we do.”

Both logos featured a broken triangle reminiscent of the Greek letter delta. Adobe’s logo is red and white, with a thick “A” stretching to the edges of the icon. Delta’s logo, on the other hand, was purple and white, smaller, and centered within the icon.

Despite the differences and the fact that the companies operate in completely different markets — Adobe in creative tools and Delta in retro gaming — Adobe felt there was a risk of confusion.

Delta received an email from Adobe’s lawyer on May 7, demanding a change to avoid violating Adobe’s trademark.

Adobe gave Delta until May 17 to respond but also reached out to Apple, requesting that the app be taken down for trademark infringement.

Delta responded to both Adobe and Apple, explaining that its icon was a stylized Greek letter delta, not an “A,” but decided to change the logo anyway to avoid further issues.

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To prevent any legal problems, Delta introduced a new logo, now featuring a broken triangle. While the new design isn’t as clean as the original, it’s a temporary solution.

Some users have suggested alternative designs, such as using the lowercase delta symbol or commissioning custom artwork.

Testut mentioned that the current logo is temporary and that a more finalized version, also designed by Caroline Moore, will be released with Delta 1.6.

“We’re planning to update the icon again to a ‘final’ version soon,” he said, adding, “we’re not too worried about brand impact in the interim.”

Despite the logo change, Delta continues to thrive, allowing users to enjoy their favorite retro games on modern iOS devices.

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