Who knew that bird games would be all the rage? Certainly not Don Nguyen who abrutly withdrew his highly successful game ‘Flappy Bird’ from the App Store. If you listen to Nguyen, the success of the app was too much to take. Yesterday, he made good on his promise that Flappy Bird would be removed in 22 hours.
This is a developer who was comfortable making small, indie games. Ironically, I’d suspect a large number of those developers hope and dream of a small title becoming a smash hit. Not purely for financial reasons, but for the same reasons an actor aims to win an academy award. The financial part doesn’t hurt either. It’s been reported that Nguyen’s game was netting up to $50k per day in ad revenue. Despite its removal from the store, much of that revenue remains, likely growing due to all the noteriety gained from him pulling the app. The developer could have easily sold the app, which would have also saw him take in a nice return, while leaving all the notoriety behind. Instead, he’s chosen to take his app and go home. Apps come and go with regularity in the App Store, but not when they are leading the charts, coupled with incredible social media buzz.
Sure people are crazed about losing Flappy Bird. Some nuts have gone as far as threatening the developer with murder. Others have taken to eBay, offering iPhones with the app installed at a premium.
Before the app was removed, its wild popularity was enough to usher in copycat apps. We’ve seen it with Angry Birds and others. The difference being those apps would always rank ahead of the fake apps. With Flappy Bird removed, there is no buffer between the real deal and the clones. Fly Birdie Fly – Flappy Bird Flyer now ranks first in the App Store.
The incredible amount of traction gained by this story will result in more consumers flocking to the App Store, only to find these ‘replacement’ apps. Fly Birdie, Flappy Bee, Flappy Plane, Flappy Unicorn, Flappy Turkey, Flappy Rabbits, Flappy Penguin. I’m sure this is just the tip of the flappy iceberg.
For all his hard work, Nguyen now gets to stand by and watch people profit off his success. To me, that sounds a thousand times worse than having to navigate through accolades and paychecks.