The removal of Flappy Bird from the App Store and Google Play ended one of the most bizarre success stories to ever stem from a mobile app. Seemingly overnight the simple, yet addictively difficult game rocketed to the top of marketplace rankings only to be yanked at the peak if its success.
The premature death of the app triggered many questions. Was the app’s creator, Dong Nguyen, facing legal pressure from Nintendo? Was he simply crazy to give up on an app that was bringing him $50 thousand a day in ad revenue? While the answer to the latter may be yes, Nguyen says he had good reason to end the Flappy Bird craze.
According to Nguyen, no one was responsibly for the decision to remove the game but himself, and he was driven to do so for the exact reason that Flappy Bird became so successful. He called it an “addictive product” and saw his app becoming a “problem.” He was also, as he has stated in previous interviews, overwhelmed by the success. He found himself losing sleep.
Whereas most would see a dramatic increase in income as a means towards a life of luxury, for Nguyen the success and instant stardom made his life more uncomfortable. He has gone through his own form of Flappy Bird detox by spending the past few days away from the internet, the death threats (yes, that really happened), and the media requests.
Nguyen is not ending his tenure as an app developer, however. Several of his apps are still available, and he says the experience has given him confidence and freedom in whatever he chooses to pursue next. We can’t wait to see what that is.