Flappy Bird, the latest iOS casual game breakout hit, has been pulled from the App Store by creator Dong Nguyen. Flappy Bird, for the few people who somehow avoided the hype, was a simple game where players tap the screen to make a bird fly over pipes that block their path. The game was renowned for its simplicity and frustrating difficulty. Players were apparently engaged enough to keep playing the game and also interested enough to tell their friends to play (ultimately resulting in the app hitting #1 in the App Store). It was reported that Dong Nguyen was pulling in $50,000 per day in advertising revenue for the game before the app was removed from the store.
Why would an indie developer pull such a successful game from the App Store?
Watching this story unfold online was a sad commentary on Internet culture and the human capacity for envy. For example:
Perhaps the worst part of this whole story is the hatred that Nguyen received from other indie developers. Time and time again, presumably jealous developers were attacking Nguyen from every angle:
- 'This game is crap that could be created in a weekend!'
- 'I spent 2.5 years on my game, and it hasn't had this level of success. Unfair!'
- 'Must be a scam. This game has been in the store for months and suddenly hits #1? Must be paying for downloads!'
Of course, now that Flappy Bird has been successful there are now a bazillion clones cluttering up the App Store. Funny how the industry works like that.
Folks, this isn't the first (or last) time that we will see stories like this.