Whether you’re mourning or celebrating, Flappy Bird is now gone from app stores. Now that the inexplicable smash hit is off the market, shrewd eBay sellers are looking to turn a quick profit from those caught up in the mobile game’s buzz.
Overnight, GameSpot reported that two separate listings for iPhones with Flappy Bird installed on them had received bids over $90,000. Neither of these listings still exist, and it’s very likely that the auction prices were being driven up by eBay trolls. Such figures were probably too sensational to be real bids, which would explain why the sellers took their listings down.
But that’s not all there is to this story. While it’s hard to imagine anyone willing to pay $90,000 to get their hands on a phone with Flappy Bird installed, it initially appeared that some were still willing to pay thousands. The most notable example was an iPhone 5S that has reached $7,700 with 18 bids. Another ludicrously high-priced listing was an iPhone 5C at $8,100 with two bids. Both of these listings were active when GamesBeat started this story and were removed before publication.
Those numbers are impressive. Why did the sellers remove their items? Again, closer inspection reveals that this situation may not be what it seems. Both listings had something in common: Each auction price was driven up by eBay users with feedback ratings of zero. There’s no way to be sure, but zero feedback on an account usually means it’s new and hasn’t made any transactions yet. It is seriously doubtful that someone who has never used eBay before would bid thousands on a Flappy Bird iPhone as his first purchase.
There’s also the fact that it would be far cheaper to obtain a jailbroken iPhone and find a copy of the game online. While downloading a pirated copy isn’t legal, it would certainly be a better bargain for anybody who just needs to have it.
So, is this whole phenomenon just a bunch of troll fodder? Yes, it probably is. Still, hundreds of hopeful profiteers have listed devices containing Flappy Bird with starting prices or buy-it-now prices anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000.
Ultimately, it’s another weird chapter in the dramatic rise and fall of what I’m now dubbing “The Week of the Flappy Bird.”