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'Flappy Bird' developer says game was 'addictive product'

post #1 of 47
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In a series of interviews on Tuesday, the developer of former hit indie game "Flappy Bird" Dong Nguyen said he pulled the title from the iOS App Store because playing the game was so addicting that it became "a problem."

Nguyen
Flappy Bird creator Dong Ha Nguyen. | Source: Agence France-Presse via The Wall Street Journal


After seeing his game skyrocket to the No. 1 spot on the iOS App Store charts, Nguyen confirmed to Forbes that Flappy Bird is indeed dead and will never return.

"Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed," Nguyen said. "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."

Following an unexpected and rapid rise to top, Flappy Bird was yanked on Sunday. The game, which first hit the App Store in May 2013, went viral after word of its easy-to-play, difficult-to-master gameplay spread via YouTube and social networks.

Many cite popular YouTuber PewDiePie, who has 22.5 million subscribers, as setting the spark to the Flappy Bird inferno after he featured the game in a video that has amassed over ten million views.

At the height of what became extensive press coverage of the gaming phenomenon, Nguyen tweeted, "I cannot take this anymore," and promised to pull Flappy Bird from the App Store. The move came as a surprise to many, especially given the app was generating a reported $50,000 per day in ad revenue. Nguyen claims not to know the exact figure, but said, "I do know it's a lot."

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Nguyen said he creates games for fun in his spare time, noting that Flappy Bird took about three days to build. Nguyen's development studio, dotGEARS, has a few other high-ranking titles, though none have seen the type of success as Flappy Bird.

The developer was apparently overwhelmed by the amount of attention the game, and by extension himself, had garnered. He is currently on hiatus from his day job as a firmware engineer and does not know if he will return.
post #2 of 47
I still don't understand what the problem was.

He created the game... released it... it's done.

Now other people play it. Isn't that the point?

OK... maybe he will be branded a saint for realizing that his game was too addicting. But that doesn't stop all the other developers who sell crack games. Candy Crush... take note.

Or maybe he doesn't want to provide updates for Flappy Bird. Does he support his other games? It's funny that did didn't shut down all of his other games.

He mentioned that he designs games for fun in his spare time. But he still made sure the "ad supported" box was checked when he submitted his app in multiple app stores. That was certainly not by accident.

Again... I don't see what the problem was.
post #3 of 47
This guy is getting far too much airtime.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

I still don't understand what the problem was.

He created the game... released it... it's done.

Now other people play it. Isn't that the point?

OK... maybe he will be branded a saint for realizing that his game was too addicting. But that doesn't stop all the other developers who sell crack games. Candy Crush... take note.

Or maybe he doesn't want to provide updates for Flappy Bird. Does he support his other games? It's funny that did didn't shut down all of his other games.

He mentioned that he designs games for fun in his spare time. But he still made sure the "ad supported" box was checked when he submitted his app in multiple app stores. That was certainly not by accident.

Again... I don't see what the problem was.

 

He obviously felt it was a problem (from his comments) and did not want to be responsible for something he felt addicting. I applaud him following his conscious. I personally would have found a way like donating some significant portion to an addiction foundation. Diff strokes of different folx. 

post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

This guy is getting far too much airtime.
Seconded
post #6 of 47
That's the stupidest reason I ever read. It must be a concealed reason he is not disclosing about it.
post #7 of 47

Ahm, no. It must be something else. That's the most retarded and unbelievable reason someone EVER had to pull a game/app out of the App Store. It makes no sense and he must be hiding the real reason.

post #8 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by THEMAC1NT0SH View Post

Seconded
Thirded.
post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

This guy is getting far too much airtime.

Thirded. 

post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

This guy is getting far too much airtime.

Thirded. Again.

post #11 of 47
I do agree, his reasons do sound a little off. However, not everyone's reasons are going to sound rational to others. Some folks aren't about money, or they actually fear having it. Others can't handle any amount of fame - or they think they could and when it happens they feel cornered.

There are brilliant (and not so brilliant) but very reclusive and eccentric people out there, who are motivated in vastly different ways than what were used to, and who react to certain things in ways you and I might find irrational.
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

I do agree, his reasons do sound a little off. However, not everyone's reasons are going to sound rational to others. Some folks aren't about money, or they actually fear having it. Others can't handle any amount of fame - or they think they could and when it happens they feel cornered.

There are brilliant (and not so brilliant) but very reclusive and eccentric people out there, who are motivated in vastly different ways than what were used to, and who react to certain things in ways you and I might find irrational.

Just speaking personally, I would be the reclusive sort if such success struck me. I'd be off on hiding on a tropical island while the money poured into my bank account ... 1biggrin.gif

I agree with others here, there is more to this than meets the eye.
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #13 of 47
If money makes you happy, good for you. If fame makes you happy, good for you. The effect this game was having on Mr. Nyugen was obviously not making him happy and causing him grief. I admire the courage it took for him to remove it.
post #14 of 47

I think this guy pulled it so he would get all the free press and soon he will put it back up and say everyone wants it and make much more money. IMO

post #15 of 47

"Ahm, no. It must be something else. That's the most retarded and unbelievable reason someone EVER had to pull a game/app out of the App Store. It makes no sense and he must be hiding the real reason."



That.

Although I doubt the real reason will ever be known.
post #16 of 47

If I were to make $50,000 a day since last May I might just call it a day and dissappear too.

post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

If I were to make $50,000 a day since last May I might just call it a day and dissappear too.

I'd get a nice house on Phuket, hang on the beach with a bevy of beauties, and let those daily credits rack up.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
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post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

He obviously felt it was a problem (from his comments) and did not want to be responsible for something he felt addicting. I applaud him following his conscious. I personally would have found a way like donating some significant portion to an addiction foundation. Diff strokes of different folx. 

The thing is how many people still have it, and continue to play it? He's still going to make a nice amount of money off it.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #19 of 47
Once again, people are acting as if it's evil to not want to be rich. Except he's already made a ton of money! Who the hell cares if he's giving up a little extra. I find it ridiculous that in a society where we loathe the rich, it's simultaneously dishonorable to not aspire to be rich yourself.
post #20 of 47
Some people think it would be awesome to have a super popular game making $50k a day, with all the attention and fame that deserves. This guy didn't. Kudos to him for going with his beliefs, despite the obvious negative reaction he was going to receive.
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

If I were to make $50,000 a day since last May I might just call it a day and dissappear too.

Why call it a day though? Just let the money pile up!
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #22 of 47
Bullsh!t. Absolute Bullsh!t.

He simply saw the writing on the wall; Nintendo was going to sue the frigging pants off him for outright stealing the entire premise and artwork of his "game" (particularly as they reorganize their mobile department and say goodbye to the Wii U).

I wouldn't even be surprised if he has a Cease and Desist order on his desk right now that he's conveniently not talking about.
post #23 of 47

Unless there is some reason he's not mentioning, he should have kept it up and given the money to charity. You can do a lot of good with $50k/day--almost definitely more than the harm done by that game.

post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Once again, people are acting as if it's evil to not want to be rich. Except he's already made a ton of money! Who the hell cares if he's giving up a little extra. I find it ridiculous that in a society where we loathe the rich, it's simultaneously dishonorable to not aspire to be rich yourself.

Do we really loathe the rich?  

 

Steve was a billionaire. Jony has hundreds of millions.

post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SudoNym View Post

Do we really loathe the rich?  

Steve was a billionaire. Jony has hundreds of millions.

Many don't loathe the rich, in general. It's just the way they acquired their money that is loatheable. Many feel this way from the likes of Bill Gates, Carl Icahn and David Einhorn.
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Android seems to be an illiterate product, as they only have numbers to show for.
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post #26 of 47
Could he have stolen some code for the game and got worried because of all of the attention?
post #27 of 47

flappy bird noooooo!!!!

 

 

Reply

 

 

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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

I do agree, his reasons do sound a little off. However, not everyone's reasons are going to sound rational to others. Some folks aren't about money, or they actually fear having it. Others can't handle any amount of fame - or they think they could and when it happens they feel cornered.

There are brilliant (and not so brilliant) but very reclusive and eccentric people out there, who are motivated in vastly different ways than what were used to, and who react to certain things in ways you and I might find irrational.

 

Well said. 

 

Quadra 650

post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tjwal View Post

If I were to make $50,000 a day since last May I might just call it a day and dissappear too.

It only became popular recently. This site has a chart of the App Store position:

http://marketingland.com/viral-rise-fall-flappy-bird-73479



That rise to the top of the chart happened before the PewDiePie video, which was uploaded January 27th so the video probably just helped increase the downloads. It's possible it made $50,000 a day since about January 10th but not before. That's still over $1m and it doesn't stop generating money after taking it out the store.

Getting to the top of the App Store charts is the key to making it big. Although they determine initial popularity, once the apps get in the chart, they act as advertising to the 65 million+ downloaders per day. It takes over 70k per day to make it into the top ten.
post #30 of 47
I'm not so sure he did it out of a sense of morals.

The more folks play a game the more they demand bug fixes, improvements etc.

It's possible the issue was that he didn't want to have to do any more work on it.

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #31 of 47
Stay strong, buddy. Let the haters hate.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #32 of 47

Addictive? Uh huh. Played it for five minutes before growing annoyed with it's poor design and control mechanics, and deleted it. He was probably tired of getting death threats over the stupid thing.

post #33 of 47

We aint stupid!

This is a viral campaign for that idiot. He is obviously milking this for all its worth. Screw him!
post #34 of 47
If this is not a pr game.... Then There is something seriously wrong with thus guy!
If he has no interest in the 50k a day personally ... And he is this nice concerned individual... he should also be considering how much 50 k a day can help his community through charitable contribution!
post #35 of 47

Ok, since no one else's is stepping up, I'll play conspiracy theorist.
I was just reading over at Gruber's site, how Doug Nguyen was several hours late to his Forbes interview  in Hanoi, because he "had a sudden meeting with Vietnam's deputy prime minister". It goes on to note that it was "a remarkable turn of events for someone unknown a week ago", and that the interview was conditional- Forbes was not allowed to reveal Nguyen's face.

Theory #1: Nguyen is hiding from something in his past, and doesn't want to found.

Theory #2: Someone or some organization is shaking him down under threat of harm to him or his loved ones.

 

Theory #3: He had been contacted by a government agency (not necessarily Japanese), and was either already working with them, or was asked to do so for the purpose of spying through the game.

 

Just having a bit of fun here. Don't get your panties all bunchy.

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"We have been taught to believe that negative equals realistic and positive equals unrealistic."
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post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post

He obviously felt it was a problem (from his comments) and did not want to be responsible for something he felt addicting. I applaud him following his conscious. I personally would have found a way like donating some significant portion to an addiction foundation. Diff strokes of different folx. 

Well it's his fault that he made the game too good. He built the controls, the physics, the scoring, etc.

It was obviously a fun game that people wanted to keep playing over and over. That's kinda what you want when you build an ad-supported game. He knew what he was doing... it wasn't an accident.

So what would the alternative be.... build a crappy game that people don't want to play often?

Actually... I heard that a lot of people hated Flappy Bird and deleted it after the first few plays. Very frustrating gameplay.

So was it addictive or not? I've seen no evidence... especially not in the short time that it was popular. I don't think Dr. Phil will have an episode titled "Flappy Bird: Dangerous Addiction"

Most mobile games have a short lifespan anyway. Even if Flappy Bird had remained... something else would have eventually taken its place in popularity.
post #37 of 47

Everyone is complaining about how one man lives his life, with the actions in question affecting NO ONE directly. The incredulous and hateful reactions show a lot more about our culture than about some indie game dev in Vietnam.

 

There's also this http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2014/02/why-indie-developers-go-insane.html

And then a simple illustration about earning lots of money https://medium.com/launching-ux-launchpad/385ff833f9c8

post #38 of 47
He sounds like he has Aspergers. They are renowned for being excellent at coding (or other very clever things) but lousy in interpersonal relationships and often want - no, *need* - absolute privacy to function at all or they can have meltdowns. While you and I might not see people playing our game as "interpersonal relationships" for someone with Aspergers they can feel like an overwhelming intrusion into your life. And then there's the media coverage...

I have sympathy for him. Some people don't seek and can't handle fame. Some people can.
post #39 of 47

Some thoughts:

 

1) He is from a culture utterly different from the west.  Who here in the west knows the intricacies of Vietnamese cultural standards and mores?

2) He lives in a totally different society from the west.  Particularly where government, law, business and money is concerned.  Again, few here in this forum are likely to know much about what daily life is like in current day Vietnam.  Or how tech businesses work there.  Technology growth and development has been huge there over the last decade or two.

3) The government there is intrusive and we did read that he met with the deputy prime minister.  That could either be good or bad.   In case you didn't know it is still a socialist/communist state with all the complications and baggage that comes with that.

 

This could all be nothing more than "life is different where he lives" and we just can't relate.  I worked with a guy from Vietnam who escaped with his family when he was young.  He later went back to visit and took his young American born son with him.  He told me it was very strange to him now.  However, he was very happy to be able to go back and see his home country, friends and relatives.

post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esteban View Post
 

Ok, since no one else's is stepping up, I'll play conspiracy theorist.

. . .

Just having a bit of fun here. Don't get your panties all bunchy.

Oh what a tangled web we weave,

When first we practise to deceive.

But Esteban has got it right,

Don’t let your buns get uptight.

When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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When I find time to rewrite the laws of Physics, there'll Finally be some changes made round here!

I am not crazy! Three out of five court appointed psychiatrists said so.

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