Originally launched on May 24 of 2013, Flappy Bird became a surprise hit earlier this year as players fell in love with its ease-of-use and frustrating challenge. The game consists of a small bird that moves between obstacles by a simple tap of the smartphone screen. The bird floats down automatically with gravity, but you must tap to lift it up. Sound easy? You may have a chance to see how challenging it actually is.
But in the end, Nguyen revealed that he wasn't happy about the affect the game was having on people. In an interview with Forbes, he said, "Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed, but it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird. It's gone forever."
Nguyen also stated that the free game was making $50,000 a day in ad revenue when he decided to take it down. Its removal spawned dozens of copy-cats every single day all hoping to cash in on that success, as well as an influx of players grabbing tens of thousands of dollars from the sales of iPads and iPhones with Flappy Bird installed.
But the Flappy Bird craze is now dying down just in time for Nguyen to bring the game back. But is it too late? With three other hit games doing quite well on the App store now, the developer might not be hurting for money too much, but that lure of $50,000 a day could be calling him back.
The popularity of mobile games is an interesting phenomenon as traditional PC and console developers find that the same formulas that worked for their games are not working for these mobile games. But indie developers like Nguyen are the key to cracking that code -- if there is one. Mobile games are made for quick bursts of fun with little commitment to staples like save games or character development. Flappy Bird played to that by being exactly what mobile consumers wanted at the time. But just like Angry Birds, SongPop, and all the others, the 15 minutes of fame may be up.
It will be interesting to see how well this reincarnated Flappy Bird performs and if it will be a sequel, an improved version, or the same game exactly. But as Dong Nguyen said himself, we may be waiting a while still.