It was over the weekend that we told you guys about Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen’s sudden decision to remove his smash hit game from all app stores. In fact, there were those that didn’t think he’d do it, calling the threat of removal a low-cost marketing stunt from a developer with an insatiable lust for additional downloads.
Instead there seemed to be a cloud looming over the game developer’s head, tweeting messages like, “I cannot take this anymore.” Can’t do what exactly? You’d think the $50,000 a day Nguyen was making purely from Flappy Birds in-app ad revenue, his biggest stresses would be whether he wanted silver, or 4k gold plated rims on his new Mercedes.
This lead many to wonder if the game’s heavy use of Super Mario inspired visuals sparked a C&D from Nintendo, but Nguyen addressed this in followup tweets mentioning that legal threats had nothing to do with the take down. So what gives? What could have possibly lead to the greatest indie success story since Angry Birds to suddenly crash and burn? According to Nguyen: addiction.
Flappy Birds Anonymous
In a rare interview with Forbes, Nguyen attributes Flappy Bird’s sheer addictive qualities as motivation for the take down. He created a monster, and it was up to him to right his wrongs. While this may sound downright bizarre to many of us in the western world, video game addiction is taken very serious in Asian countries. It’s so serious that government officials in South Korea have begun regulating video game use, blocking gamers younger than 18 years old from playing between midnight and 8am.
When it comes to Nguyen’s other titles still available for download, he mentions that if he felt people were becoming addicted, he’d remove those as well. Such empathy.
Pressure from the outside?
But aside from weighing heavy on Nguyen’s conscience, it is possible other factors may involved? Remember, Ngyuen’s DotGears game studio is located in Vietnam, where communists still run the government, despite having a capitalist-style economy. Now, we don’t want to accuse anyone of fowl play, but when Nguyen is tweeting messages that he can’t sleep, the game has ruined his “simple life,” and “my life has not been as comfortable as I was before,” — it begins to sound like outside sources may have been involved.
It’s worth noting that right before the Forbes interview took place — where cameras and picture taking were strictly prohibited — Nguyen, was paid a visit by Vietnam’s deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam, delaying the interview by several hours. Forbes notes that Nguyen appeared “stressed” during their interview. Once again, another odd piece in the puzzle that has been Flappy Bird.
RIP Flappy Bird
It’s possible we’ll likely never know the true story behind the meteoric rise (and subsequent) fall of Flappy Bird, but we’ll always remember the pain, love, and joy it brought to our Androids. The time for mourning is over — I think it’s time we finally move on.