“Flappy Bird”, ever heard of it? If you never downloaded or played the game, you probably heard people complaining about it on Twitter or bragging about their scores on Facebook. What began as a simple game for mobile gadgets quickly became a nationwide fad, one that disappeared even faster than it rose.
In May 2013, creator Dong Nguyen debuted his creation “Flappy Bird” in the App Store (Akash, 2014). The game received little attention for the first few months, but following an update, entered the U.S. game charts at 1,368 (Akash, 2014). As more people downloaded the game and announced their frustration on social media (the game is infamous for being challenging), its popularity rose. By February 2014, “Flappy Bird” was ranked as the No. 1 free app in the United States and 52 other countries (Akash, 2014). This success generated a reported $50,000 in revenue daily for Nguyen, a payday that most people would gladly accept (Akash, 2014). However, Dong Nguyen did not agree.
On February 8th, 2014, the creator tweeted that he would take down the app from the store, saying, “I cannot take this anymore” (Akash, 2014). This was not an idle threat, as the app was taken off the app store and created chaos among the avid users. Despite receiving death threats and suicide tweets, Nguyen has kept the app off of the store (Akash, 2014). The reasons behind his decision to remove the game are up for debate as there are a few different theories. Some argued that the game was borderline plagiarism because of its design similarity to the highly popular to the 1985 “Super Mario Bros” which prompted Nintendo to demand the game be taken down (Akash, 2014). Others were skeptical that the game’s popularity resulted from bot technology and this put pressure on Nguyen and his creation (Akash, 2014). Nguyen denied all of these rumors and states that the addiction caused by the game became a problem and provoked him to remove the game from the store (Akash, 2014).
No matter what the reasons are, nobody can buy “Flappy Bird” from the app store anymore. That being said, those who had already downloaded the game can still access it. This lead to a spike in demand for phones with “Flappy Bird” downloaded onto them, a demand that reached astronomical numbers. Many iPhones were posted on eBay following the discontinuation of the app, and the bidding soared to heights no one expected. One iPhone with “Flappy Bird” reached a price of almost $99,000 from 74 bids with six days left on the auction (Elise, 2014). This phone, and the others who were reaching similar prices, were removed by eBay without much of an explanation (Elise, 2014). While this upset those who were auctioning off their “Flappy Bird” equipped phones, the extreme demand for the game will develop other ways of keeping the addictive app alive.
Akash, K. (2014, February 11). Ebay cancels $99,000 flappy bird iphone auction along with other similar devices. Retrieved from http://uk.news.yahoo.com/ebay-cancels-99-000-
Elise, A. (2014, February 14). ‘flappy bird’ game deleted: The rise and fall of the most addictive mobile game in years. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/flappy-bird-game-deleted-rise-fall-most-addictive-mobile-game-years-1555635