WEB & TECH / FEB. 11, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Flappy Bird is Officially Dead

Game Over

Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen has pulled the insanely addictive (and annoying) game Flappy Birds from app stores. On Saturday evening the overnight success, who created the game alone and in just a few nights, tweeted “I am sorry ’Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ’Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.”

The game has seen huge success, achieving viral status in a short space of time and earning Nguyen $50,000 per day. The Android version was downloaded an unbelievable 50 million times and so we’re all wondering, why the indie game creator has thrown in the towel.

If you’ve played the game, you’ll know how frustrating it is. It’s easy to find yourself punching the train seat in front of you and getting some very dodgy looks, when your great streak comes to an end in one false tap. For this reason, the app inspired a stream of very funny viral videos depicting enraged players. It might be this level of controversy that Nguyen was referring to when he said “I cannot take this anymore.”

There has been a (potentially fake) news story, concerning a young man stabbing his brother, when he got a better score than he did. And Nguyen was also accused of using bots, to create fake reviews and rankings, scamming app stores to achieve popularity.  

The onslaught didn’t end when he made the announcement that he would be removing the game. Nguyen received numerous death threats from Twitter users, as well as claims from individuals that they would be committing suicide.

It’s obvious that these people can’t be serious. But it is nevertheless shocking that one little game could inspire mass attention in this way.

Despite Nguyen’s claims on the contrary, it is most likely that he pulled flappy bird due to legal reasons. It has been rumoured that he has received warnings from Nintendo over flappy bird - the game was inspired by Super Mario Bros. And due to the fact that Nguyen runs his own small independent company, he would not be able to deal with the legal disputes.

Also Nguyen may not have received adequate investment. The viral game’s popularity was based on hits and therefore would be unable to secure a steady cash flow.

It seems that in the case of this developer, financial success did not provide any consolation, for the media frenzy and negative press surrounding his high-earning app. Perhaps Nguyen simply wasn’t ready for the infamy which came as a result.

Why do you think Nguyen pulled the game from app stores? Did he make the right move?

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