Have you heard of Flappy Bird? Of course you have. That annoyingly simple to play, yet improbable to master gameplay is really what makes it super addictive.
Tap a flying bird to keep it in the air and navigate through broken pipes. How difficult can it be? Millions have tried. Many have failed.
But what really makes this an incredible story, is the sudden rise of the app, and fall of its creator. As the game rose in popularity, all eyes fell upon creator Dong Nguyen, and he started getting comments and tweets at him, both positive and negative.
Initially, he’d reply to the feedback and tweets gamely, but as time wore on, and the media picked up on his story, he started feeling frustrated by all the media attention and the negative impact his game was having on millions of players.
The game, designed to be a simple time-waster while waiting for your commute, instead turned out to be night-stealer, its addictive nature wiping away hours on end. It was meant to bring joy to our lives, instead, we alternate between love and hate of it. That, was the reason Nguyen decided to pull the plug on the game, removing it from the Android and IOS Appstores.
When he first announced that the game would be pulled, many thought it was a prank. Afterall, according to the Verge, he was raking in $50,000 per day serving up in-game ads. Why would anyone in their right mind do something like that? Well, don’t worry. He’s not crazy. In fact, he is rather brilliant, in my mind.
You see, while the game is no longer available for download on the stores, those who’ve previously installed the game would still have access to it. And with the supply now suddenly gone, demand for the game has in fact increased, and those who’ve already downloaded the game (50 million at last count) will no doubt be playing it even more, and passing the phones around to compete with friends who don’t have it.
The ads are still running on the already installed phones, so in my opinion, Nguyen has just nailed the perfect passive income for at least the next couple of months! His $50,000 per day (probably more) continues to flow in, while he no longer has to deal with queries, comments and vitriol (real or imagined) about the game.
Here’s an exclusive interview he did with Forbes regarding his decision to remove the app.
As long as we keep flapping, he’s going to be able to keep sipping mai tais on the beach. And if you were late to the game and desperately want to flap some birds, my phone is for sale for $6,888. Call me.
You can also download a flood of copies currently on the appstores, but Flappy Bee just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?