Flappy Bird pulled by upset creator

Though Flappy Bird was first released in May 2013, it's only recently become the latest hit craze compulsive mobile game everyone and their mum needs to play. A cutesy take on the classic tradition of helicopter tunnel games, it has players guiding a wonky bird through endless obstacles by tapping to flap. But at the height of its popularity, creator Dong Nguyen has pulled the game from app stores, saying it "ruins my simple life."

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Though Flappy Bird was first released in May 2013, it's only recently become the latest hit craze compulsive mobile game everyone and their mum needs to play. A cutesy take on the classic tradition of helicopter tunnel games, it has players guiding a wonky bird through endless obstacles by tapping to flap. But at the height of its popularity, creator Dong Nguyen has pulled the iOS and Android from app stores, saying it "ruins my simple life."

Flappy Bird had been earning an average of $50,000 per day, the Vietnamese developer told The Verge last week. Not any longer.

"I am sorry 'Flappy Bird' users, 22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down," Nguyen announced on Twitter on Saturday. "I cannot take this anymore." 22 hours later, it was gone. He added, "It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore."

What exactly the problem is a mystery--whether he's overwhelmed or upset by the fame or money or goodness knows what--as Nguyen is quite vague. The clearest indication--though one still quite open to interpretation--came several hours before announcing his decision, when Nyuyen said "I can call 'Flappy Bird' is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it."

Unpleasantly, but not unsurprisingly, vultures are swooping down to the corpse of Flappy Bird. Several clones with similar names are already on app stores, typically with more aggressive monetisation than Nguyen's in-game banner ads.

While Flappy Bird may not have gone the way he wanted, Nguyen isn't giving up. "And I still make games," he tweeted after announcing the takedown.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 10, 2014 6:45 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Flappy Bird pulled by upset creator.

    Though Flappy Bird was first released in May 2013, it's only recently become the latest hit craze compulsive mobile game everyone and their mum needs to play. A cutesy take on the classic tradition of helicopter tunnel games, it has players guiding a wonky bird through endless obstacles by tapping to flap. But at the height of its popularity, creator Dong Nguyen has pulled the game from app stores, saying it "ruins my simple life."

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      February 10, 2014 7:01 AM

      What a little diva. Sounds like someone just needed to unplug from the Matrix and take a vacation. He said he plans to continue making games, which will probably attract even MORE attention now that he's outted himself as out of the platform's more emotional and unstable personalities.

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        February 10, 2014 7:03 AM

        MY SIMPLE LIFE.

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          February 10, 2014 7:06 AM

          MY $50K PER DAY INCOME.

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            February 10, 2014 7:07 AM

            Don't get me wrong. I believe he found the attention crushing. But he's a fool if he believes removing his game and CONTINUING TO MAKE GAMES will diminish that attention.

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              February 10, 2014 7:08 AM

              I'd love to be a fool making 50k a day

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              February 10, 2014 7:12 AM

              Well, he could publish it under a different name and/or hire someone to act as the "face" of the game, now that he has the money to do so, to mention one option for his future. Or just use the name he now has to find a job or whatever. The dude essentially put a stop to "free income", so maybe he has reasons that aren't obvious. One would think so.

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                February 10, 2014 8:48 AM

                My suspicion is he was afraid his heavily 'inspired' game art was a liability, given the attention the game was getting.

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                  February 10, 2014 8:50 AM

                  I thought that copyright in Asia was kind of lolwhatevs.

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            February 10, 2014 9:44 AM

            How does this guy make 50k a day based off ads? WHO THE FUCK CLICKS ON ADS ?!

            Is it all the trailer trash with their Android 2.0 phones or something?!

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              February 10, 2014 10:16 AM

              clicks are a bonus, it's more about impressions and reach.

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              February 10, 2014 10:49 AM

              When you have 40 million people or whatever playing your game I'm sure there will be a few clicks

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        February 10, 2014 7:11 AM

        Someone turning down $50k per day isn't really my definition of a diva.

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        February 10, 2014 9:43 AM

        Maybe he had a pre-existing drug addiction and his new-found fame was feeding it. Or he's having family issues, as many new millionaires do when their relatives all start demanding money (can't imagine it's any easier in Vietnam). Maybe he was simply overwhelmed by the success and isn't capable of handling it emotionally yet. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to walk away from fame that may not make sense to people who know nothing about it, but there's no reason to assume that he's a diva. Sheesh, it's almost as if now that Phil Fish (who WAS a diva) is no longer around people are looking for a new indie-developer punching bag.

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      February 10, 2014 7:10 AM

      $50,000 a day.

      If he's worried about the money "ruining his simple life" then why doesn't he just donate the money to some Vietnamese charity or something? Surely there are people over there who could make good use of that kind of money.





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        February 10, 2014 7:15 AM

        It's less the money and the constant hounding from press and fans. The press want interviews constantly, and gamers bombard his Twitter to tell him how much they love (or hate) Flappy Bird.

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          February 10, 2014 7:17 AM

          It also raises the bar for him for all his future games. That's a lot of pressure for a small game developer. Even if he sold it for $5 million, he still has the stigma of having made a $5M game. So, he'd be expected to be able to do it again.

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          February 10, 2014 8:09 AM

          I'll take all that flak for $50k a day. It's like actors complaining that they are celebrities. I'll take all that millions of dollars for people recognizing me on the street. I could just drive off in my Ferrari if things get too out of hand.

          I have 0 sympathy for the dude.

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          February 10, 2014 8:37 AM

          yea, wasn't he getting a bunch of death threats and stuff because of 'borrowed' assets or something similar?

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          February 10, 2014 10:16 AM

          that sucks but I'm not sure that this move is going to get him less attention, at least in the short run.

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          February 10, 2014 12:22 PM

          Just say no. Wow that was hard.

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        February 10, 2014 7:17 AM

        Seriously, he could have just transferred ownership to a non-profit. That money could go a long way in Vietnam.

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        February 10, 2014 8:43 AM

        Just think of all the other Dongs he could save!

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      February 10, 2014 7:21 AM

      How dumb. He just guaranteed to skyrocket the amount of negative attention and publicity he was going to receive... only now he doesn't get the money either.

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      February 10, 2014 7:49 AM

      [deleted]

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        February 10, 2014 7:58 AM

        I think he's still raking in the cash, as long as the people who have it installed continue to play the game and click on the ads.

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        February 10, 2014 4:42 PM

        Seriously

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      February 10, 2014 8:21 AM

      I hate getting to much money too

      • Ziz legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
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        February 10, 2014 8:23 AM

        It just doesn't burn fast enough.

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      February 10, 2014 8:52 AM

      [deleted]

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      February 10, 2014 9:02 AM

      I wish I downloaded the game now.

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      February 10, 2014 9:05 AM

      It's surprising how much people care about some guy and his crappy little casual game.

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      February 10, 2014 9:09 AM

      I somewhat doubt that he was BS'ing about the $50k/day figure. That's over a million dollars in the past three weeks when the app was number one on the chart. Turning down that much money when he's already completed the project and only has to maintain any bugs that come up is silly. $50k a day is also more money in a much shorter period of time compared to other hits like Ridiculous Fishing which took six months to reach $1 million -- though Ridiculous Fishing is a paid app.

      But let's assume that the Flappy Birds creator was truthful about the stress he was facing. He never says where the source of his stress is coming from. Some people have assumed that it's from the press and fans, however these two groups are easy enough to ignore. It could however be hounding from friends and family due to his newfound fame and wealth -- something not unlike what happens to lottery winners whose name gets published. However, in his early tweets, Dong Nguyen was pretty open and playful with people playing his game. But he did later say that he was uncomfortable talking to journalists which leads credence to his claim about stress. The guy is from Hanoi, Vietnam where individuals and the culture itself isn't as used to celebrity as compared to America and Europe.

      There's speculation that Nintendo was on his ass about copyright infringement. Why didn't Nintendo go after him earlier then since Flappy Bird has been out since May 2013? Simply put, the game wasn't popular and no one knew about it including Nintendo. Did Nintendo pressure the creator or Apple and Google to take down the game? Nintendo does have a history of protecting their IP but a simple fix like changing the artwork would've been relatively quick and easy, thereby continuing to ensure the game's existence and revenue. However, Dong Nguyen openly tweeted that him pulling the game wasn't due to any legal issues.

      And the other speculation is that he used bots to quickly boost the App Store ranking. It's pretty unusual for a game to have been out for eight months already and previously ranked #15xx to suddenly start jumping up hundreds of spots starting in November 2013 and become #1 by January 2014. He's pretty dismissive about this accusation and says, "it doesn’t matter. Don’t you think? If I did fake it, should Apple let it live for months?" If there were bots involved, he's blaming Apple for not catching them. On January 9th, 2014 the game suddenly received 90 reviews in one day. On January 12th it received 180 reviews also in one day. On January 17th it had 360 reviews. On January 18th it was over 600 reviews in one day. And on January 30th the app had over 4,600 reviews in one day. For comparison, Flappy Bird has more reviews than the Facebook app.

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        February 10, 2014 9:11 AM

        My terrible English. Ignore my first sentence above.

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      February 10, 2014 9:17 AM

      Badland is pretty much the same shit. Just get that.

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        February 10, 2014 9:34 AM

        no. Badland is actually good and not fucking retarded. good news is there are now 10 million flappy bird clones like ironpants, flappy bee, flappy wing, etc for all your shitty and retarded gaming needs.

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          February 10, 2014 9:45 AM

          Maybe that explains why I've actually played the free version of Badland and never heard of this other thing til just this morning.

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          February 10, 2014 8:36 PM

          Badlands is really well done.

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      February 10, 2014 10:03 AM

      Isn't he going to continue making ad revenues anyway???

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      February 10, 2014 10:13 AM

      [deleted]

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      February 10, 2014 10:32 AM

      screw this guy, download threes instead

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      February 10, 2014 12:01 PM

      I love how everyone is outraged by this. It's really hilarious, and sad. Mostly sad. As if anyone speculating really knows why he's doing it.

      The guy has his reasons, leave him be. People are jealous when the guy makes $50K/day, they're jealous when the guy doesn't make $50K/day. Dude can't win. Y'all are dicks.

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        February 10, 2014 12:17 PM

        well I kind of want to know why. just curious. as a vietnamese person, I would bet money on new relatives that bother him nonstop for his monies

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      February 10, 2014 12:06 PM

      >Create casual game with simple art style, no budget, and unobtrusive ads, zero microtransactions
      >Don't bother marketing it
      >Get shat on by the "hard core" crowd for releasing a simple casual game
      >Make $50,000 a day
      >Say "I don't like the attention, and I never wanted to make millions, I will drop my game from the market"
      >Get shat on again by the "hard core" gamers for ?????

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      February 10, 2014 12:27 PM

      Situation: you have a hobby of making tiny little games to make people smile, bring happiness, and just have fun.

      Suddenly one of your joke games is really, really popular. Except that it doesn't make people happy. It does something weird and unexpected: it makes them angry. They can't stop playing for hours at a time and then they rage out about how much they hate your game. But they keep playing. You've accidentally made a highly addictive game that does the opposite of bring happiness. People are throwing away hours of their life into your joke game, and they don't think it's funny, but they don't stop playing.

      Now the game is making you a lot of /money/, but it isn't making people /happy/. Do you keep the money and say "oh well, people are assholes, not my problem", or do you stop distributing the game so that other people don't get caught in the rage-trap?

      Flappy Bird's creator's twitter account makes it perfectly clear that he never intended it to be a huge time-suck. He constantly tells people to relax and take a break and to smile.

      I think it's commendable that he pulled the game.

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        February 10, 2014 3:19 PM

        I hadn't read his twitter. Interesting.

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        February 10, 2014 3:44 PM

        My first reaction is that it's a pretty ridiculous stance to take and he should feel bad for taking it. If your description is accurate and it really bothered him that much why not do something positive with the revenue? Oh boo hoo someone got mad at a shitty phone game? Well now they also helped feed a homeless guy or put a kid in a third-world country through school or donated a goat to an impoverished family or something so get over it. Enriching the lives of others would probably outweigh the terrible pain and suffering he's experiencing.

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          February 10, 2014 3:53 PM

          He can still do both with the money he already earned from it. It's not at all ridiculous for him to do what he did given the reaction some people had to the game.

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            February 10, 2014 4:26 PM

            people mad about a simple phone game can suck a fuck tbqh, and actively limiting the potential good that could come from the revenue (assuming the whole "oh my simple life" bit is true) is a dick move imo

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              February 10, 2014 9:01 PM

              I'd rather pull a game I made and do whatever "charity" giving I felt appropriate with what I made than keep it up and endure countless angry messages and death threats. There are some really fucked up people in this world that will go to great lengths to make someone's life a living hell over something even more mundane than a game.

              He did what he felt was best and is far from a "dick move."

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          February 10, 2014 9:01 PM

          That's like saying Meth manufacturers should set some of their money they earned to fund rehab clinics for their addicts or whatever.

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            February 10, 2014 9:43 PM

            If we go down that road then the people getting mad at Flappy Bird while they take a shit are like meth addicts and that's just silly.

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        February 10, 2014 4:24 PM

        The problem is he bothered to pay attention to the internet.

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        February 10, 2014 4:28 PM

        I think you just described gamers everywhere.

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        February 10, 2014 5:45 PM

        I'd be too busy swimming in my pool of money to care.

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        February 10, 2014 8:54 PM

        He probably should have thought about it more. He could give proceeds to charity or something. In business you shouldn't burn your bridges.

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        February 10, 2014 9:27 PM

        I don't know about commendable, but I have no idea why people care what he does with something he created. Money is clearly not an issue for him, so why do people keep bringing this up?

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        February 10, 2014 9:39 PM

        i wipe my ass in benjamins. and make a new game with said money.

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        February 10, 2014 10:06 PM

        Who the hell cares? People love your game, people hate your game. People play far more than they should. People never give it a chance. That's all their problem and they'll just move on to some other game and do it all again tomorrow. Don't make games, movies, write books, or sell any sort of product to a consumer if you don't want or can't tolerate praise, criticism, or ridiculous Internet discussions about it.

        If it's not about the money then he should have just donated it. And if it was just some joke game like you said, then he should have never bothered to update it and just walked away and let it be what it is and nothing more. I like how you call it a joke game, but then talk about this grand idea in life to have it also be one that makes people smile and brings them happiness and all fun! With a joke game.

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        February 16, 2014 12:55 AM

        He is a better man than me, I suppose. I would have just set back, and cackled in glee as the money kept rolling in.

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