Flappy Bird Is Dead. But Why?

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Flappy Bird, the hugely popular, hugely addictive iPhone game, has been pulled from the Apple and Android apps stores. Developer Dong Nguyen withdrew it after warning fans over the weekend that the game would disappear.

The game generated a reported 50,000 a day in ad revenue, and was downloaded over 50 million times.

So why kill the golden (Flappy) goose? No one really knows. Nguyen tweeted a four line statement that doesn’t do much to clarify the decision:

 “I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users. 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore. It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore. I also don’t sell ‘Flappy Bird,’ please don’t ask. And I still make games.”

“Legal issues” probably refers to accusations by the gaming site Kotatku that some of the background art in “Flappy Bird” looks similar to the background art in classic Mario games. But that accusation really does seem too inconsequential to justify a legal takedown.

So what happened? The only clue comes a bit earlier in Nguyen’s Twitter feed, where he writes, “I can call 'Flappy Bird' is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.” A bit later, he tells a fan that he hates the success of the game “because how people use my game. They are overusing it.”

If we take Nguyen at his word, there’s something very appealing about a game developer walking away from success because he doesn’t like that his game has become too mindlessly addictive. The only other near-example that comes to mind is Cow Clicker.