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 Flappy Bird  creator says he removed his game because it was too addictive
Flappy Bird creator says he removed his game because it was too addictive
February 11, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

February 11, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
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    19 comments
More: Smartphone/Tablet, Indie, Business/Marketing



Newsbrief: In a pair of interviews published today by the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen claims he removed his smash mobile hit from app stores because it was too popular, causing him to suffer public harassment and feelings of guilt.

"It was just too addictive," Nguyen reportedly told a Vietnam-based Wall Street Journal correspondent. "So I decided to take it down."

Nguyen also reportedly told the Journal that he was having difficulty walking in his neighborhood without being "pestered" and that he had taken a leave of absence from both his day job and the Internet in general.

"I couldn’t sleep," Nguyen reportedly told a correspondent from Forbes, when asked about why he removed his game at the peak of its popularity. "I don’t think it’s a mistake...I have thought it through."

Gamasutra has -- very politely -- reached out to Nguyen for further comment.


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Comments


Ron Dippold
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And here I just read another article saying that the bottom line is that success is whatever tricks squeeze more cash out of chumps. F2P whiplash!

I hope Mister Nguyen can find some peace and quiet and return to releasing games that are just popular enough to keep him happy.

Edit: Interesting bit here on why the game is so difficult. http://www.ideatoappster.com/exclusive-flappy-bird-creators-advic
e-compete-big-game-companies/

Matthew Mouras
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It's been amusing to see the market react to the success of "Flappy Bird". It's taught me that no one knows what users want. Thanks for the link. The article believes it has the formula down:

"While Dong may call his success “lucky”, there’s a lesson here for all indie app developers – create an app that has a simple game mechanic and make it extremely difficult to win. It is the common theme across all of Dong’s apps – all three of which have reached the top 10 in the Apple App Store."

Matthew Mouras
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Passing on $50k a day seems like a mistake to me.

Christiaan Moleman
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Quality of life > money

Matthew Mouras
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I saw a recent discussion on Reddit saying that the $50k a day figure originated on the Verge and that many news outlets simply repeated it without any kind of verification. The Verge may have entirely invented the number. I'm sorry to have aped it here.

A W
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Especially when you make less than that in a year. Seems his problem was not in making that, but how to use it.

Paolo Gambardella
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In a poor and communist country earning so much really changes your life. The best way to be happy is to have just the essential, that's the real problem. No one can pass on 50k/day so easily. But the freedom has not any price.

Kujel s
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I can understand his motives and as Chris Lynn said he's still making money off it so he doesn't need to sell more copies.

Tuomas Pirinen
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The violently hostile reaction to Nguyen and his game by the gamer community and the specialist press was extremely disappointing to see. I wish him peace and happiness.

Jarod Smiley
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Good for you man...Nice to see someone think of something other than money for once.

Katy Smith
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What he had to put up with was ridiculous. It's his creation and he chose to take it down. Good for him and sticking to his moral/personal/privacy guns!

Ryan Christensen
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Dong is unique in his views from today's game market. I think however it started, it continued because he combined something new in mobile gaming even though it was heavily inspired by others and nostalgia.

He made a simple, casual game to be very difficult. I know when I played it, I played it many times simply because this simple game shouldn't be so hard to play and I won't let it beat me (first ten times I played 0 score). It was new in that everyone was doing casual/simple games as pretty easy, push over games. What game even has a max high score of 9999 anymore? With most people scoring 5-10, it was interesting.

In the past games were also like that and you remember them for that, like Mega Man. But back in the day, arcades and early console, difficulty was to get more quarters out of you or minimize content that had to be made. So it wasn't all for the fun of the game.

Dong's game was unique in that it was very simple AND it was very difficult. That has much to do with the rise of Flappy. Rather than over-reward which the market does now, it limited it. You can see from his personality that limitation is a big part of his thinking that translates to his game design.

Will Hendrickson
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This really shows how internet toxicity is a real problem! Verbal abuse is still abuse and can have just as powerful effect on a person.

I think that all the negative attention he received definitely influenced his decision, and the fact that he's stated that he's taking it down for being "too addictive" is indicative of this.

Shame on all of the trolls! Shame, SHAME!

What Flappy Bird is, actually, is not so much a game as a phenomenon! It's something that brought a little joy into many people's lives, and the jealousy of the masses has perverted this wonderful thing into something that has hurt someone: the developer himself.

Javier San Juan
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Too bad he couldn't see that joy he put in people's lives past all the horrible criticism. It's sad that he chose to keep only the bad stuff.

John Flush
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I admire his choice to get out of the public eye. Honestly though the ride would have ended in 6-12 months anyhow. At $50,000 a month seems kind of odd to care rather than move and take up a random job where no one would have to know he created the game.

Kevin Fishburne
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Were I Mr. Nguyen I would have used those funds to:

1) Hire armed security (off-duty police and former military).
2) Professionally upgrade my home's security system (and my immediate family's).
3) Heavily publicize the game for maximum international market penetration.
4) Begin planning a sequel.
5) Move to the countryside or perhaps a different country entirely.
6) Built a fortified dream castle as my primary residence.
7) Enjoy the hell out of life.
8) Get to work on that sequel!

In any case, best wishes to Dong, however confused he may leave some of us with his actions. Really shows just how varied the indie scene is these days.

Christiaan Moleman
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You're describing a dystopian society as if it's a good thing.

A W
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I think he described what he would do, not what a society would do.

Kevin Fishburne
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I'm just saying that being wildly successful doesn't mean you have to lose control of your life. If success is properly managed (now I'm REALLY talking out my ass) you can use it to enhance your life. Think of people who win the lottery. For many of them it's a nightmare and they quickly end up penniless. For others they successfully manage the dangers and turn it into something wonderful.

I personally wouldn't have a problem getting thousands of Tweets, emails, etc., even if a percentage of them were death threats or otherwise insane. Neither would I have a problem being approached by random strangers at Walmart saying, "Holy shit! You're the guy that made [that game]. Can I get your autograph?"

I was trying to put myself in Dong's shoes, proposing an alternate reaction that attempted to balance his success with his (imagined; I don't know him) lifestyle.


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