Something's Fishy with Developer's Decision to Take Down Insanely Popular Flappy Bird Game

Time might be running out if you've been planning to download Flappy Bird to see what all the fuss is about. You've probably heard of the popular mobile title, a simple title in which you're instructed to tap the screen to keep a flapping bird airborne through a series of pipes that look like they've been ripped straight out of a Nintendo game. The mechanics don't get any more simple than that, yet Flappy Bird is somehow both addicting and endlessly frustrating -- there's little room for error as you tap your way through the pipes. Strangely enough, now that his game is finally a raging success, developer Dong Nguyen announced in a Twitter post that he's planning on yanking the title offline today.

Released in May 2013, Flappy Birds went largely unnoticed up until recently, and now seemingly everyone with a mobile device is playing it (and dropping f-boms). It's free to download and there are no in-app purchases, though the title reportedly pulls in over $50,000 per day through in-game ads. That's right -- more than $50,000 per day, or $350,000 per week. Should Flappy Bird maintain its popularity for a full year, Nguyen would make over $18 million on a game that looks like a rip off of Piou Piou vs. Cactus (released to iOS in 2011) but with Mario-inspired graphics.

Flappy Bird

This brings us back to Nguyen's decision to pull the game from app stores. Why is he doing it? According to a followup Tweet, "It is not anything related to legal issues, I just cannot keep it anymore." That rules out the notion that he's being threatened by Nintendo or any other entity, assuming he's telling the truth. The real reason, according to Nguyen, is that Flappy Bird is somehow ruining his simple life.

Could the explanation really be that simple, or is something else at play here? It could be that Nguyen fears future legal action now that his game is drawing so much attention to itself. Another theory floating around is that it's a publicity stunt. Maybe his announcement was intended to spur a bunch of additional downloads, or perhaps he wants to build up anticipation for his next game.

No matter how you slice it, there's definitely something fishy about abandoning a cash cow that generates over $50,000 per day. In any event, if you want to give a go yourself, you can download Flappy Bird from Google Play and iTunes. There's also a version in the Windows Store published by IG Mobile.