Mobile app and viral sensation Flappy Bird, which for a time capped free app charts on app stores, has been killed off by its developer.
The story of the Flappy Bird game begins and ends with Dong Nguyen, its creator. The Hanoi-based game maker of dotGears Studios launched the game on the iTunes App Store in May 2013, where it remained in relative obscurity until the unexplainable occurred: the app exploded in popularity. According to App Annie, the game has been downloaded between 10 million and 50 million times, and users have rated it more than 325,000 times. According to The Verge, which sat down with Nguyen himself, the game pulled $50,000 per day on average from in-app advertising.
The app’s design and interface were simple. Users tapped their screens to make a little yellow bird fly between pipes that served as obstacles. But the game proved much more difficult than it looked. Keeping the bird aerial was bafflingly and excruciatingly difficult.
People dumped their vitriol and ire over Flappy Bird, notoriously hard to play, on app stores. “This game makes me want to commit suicide,” reads one review, via BuzzFeed. How could one game inspire such hatred and dedication in millions of people?
Players complained Flappy Birds wrecked their lives — and in this they’re similar to the game’s designer. “I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it,” Nguyen tweeted yesterday.
Nguyen seems to think the game got too popular for what it was and that players were “overusing” his application. Amid all the scrutiny and customer reactions, Nguyen did something drastic — he announced he would eliminate the game. “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore,” he tweeted. Legal issues had nothing to do with his decision, he told followers, also assuring them he wouldn’t sell the game.
Nguyen’s last tweet assures the public he still makes games. Currently, two dotGears apps stand in the top 20 free applications on the iTunes App Store: Super Ball Juggling in 4th and Shuriken Block in 15th place.
Whether the spotlight got too bright for Nguyen or some of his critics were right, the world may never know. It all comes to the same thing: Flappy Bird is gone, saving countless iPhones from getting thrown against walls.