It is the short story of an app created by a 29 years-old Vietnamese game developer, Nguyen Dong. In just few months, Flappy Bird became one of the most popular game app of all time before it was simply shut down by its own creator!
“I just wanted to create a game that people could enjoy for a few minutes” said Mr Dong in one of the very rare interview he gave to the press. Unfortunately what happened was quite the opposite of the developer’s expectation. Players would spend hours and hours trying to make their flappy bird fly to victory. The idea behind the game could hardly be simpler than that. The goal was to direct a bird, by tapping on your smartphone’s screen, between oncoming set of pipes without colliding with them. Quickly, Flappy Bird hit the top 10 in the Apple Store, was downloaded about 50 million times, mentioned in 16 million tweets and disappeared from the store only 28 days later. One of the reason behind its phenomenal success was a perfect combination of the game high-level of difficulties and the power of social media. Players would post their scores on twitter or other social media – this is how Flappy Bird went viral!
Mr Dong who apparently never intended to create such an addictive game became a worlwide celebrity. The developer who was still living with his parents in Hanoi started to find the situation quite hard to control and described it as “extremely uncomfortable”. He mostly used Twitter to share his opinions, answer questions and express his feelings in regard to the success of his app.
The social media platform offers a good summary of the story in 140 characters:
Flappy Bird was closed on February 9th 2014. Some interesting facts about it: the game-app was bringing $50,000 each day to Nguyen Dong in advertising revenue. Despite its closing and unavailability, the app continues to display ads to those who have downloaded it – Dong is still getting money from the advertising. Speculations are flourishing all over the web saying that to put an end to Flappy Bird turned Nguyen Dong into a sort of game developer legend. At the moment, he is known to be working on other apps that should become available in the very near future. Thanks to Flappy Bird’s success Nguyen Dong said to have “more freedom and confidence to create more games.”
Is Nguyen Dong a real shy game developer or a really smart game marketer who manage to turn his app and his name into a phenomenon?