Connect with top gaming leaders in Los Angeles at GamesBeat Summit 2023 this May 22-23. Register here.
You can no longer find Flappy Bird in the well-lit official markets on Android and iOS. That’s because the creator felt he made something that people are addicted to — but that’s not stopping people from finding less savory ways of getting their hands on the popular free game.
On Saturday, Flappy Bird was the most downloaded app on both the Google Play and iOS App Store markets. On Sunday, creator Dong Nguyen removed the game from all mobile stores. Now, he is explaining why he pulled it.
“Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed,” Nguyen said in an interview with Forbes. “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.”
GamesBeat Summit 2023
Join the GamesBeat community in Los Angeles this May 22-23. You’ll hear from the brightest minds within the gaming industry to share their updates on the latest developments.
Flappy Bird is a simple mobile game that features a less-than-aerodynamic avian who flies like he has two left wings. Players tap the screen to keep him in the air and guide him through the small gaps between endless green pipes. It is very difficult. It is very basic. It is (or was) very popular.
Nguyen’s Flappy Bird featured no in-game purchases. It was free to download, but it featured ads. Flappy Bird had so many players that those ads were making Nguyen around $50,000 each day, according to estimates from The Verge.
But that’s all in the past now because the creator claims the game created an addiction problem. Unfortunately for Nguyen, prohibition never really works.
Since Nguyen has removed the game, Flappy Bird has moved underground. Numerous YouTube videos and enthusiast websites have popped up to explain that you can still download the Flappy Bird software and easily install it on Android. This doesn’t require any hacking, and virtually all Android devices are capable of installing it.
On iOS, things are a bit more difficult. First, iPhone or iPad owners will have to “jailbreak” their device, which is the process where the user overtakes full control of Apple’s operating system. From there, players can search the more dingy parts of the Internet to acquire the unofficial software and install it.
Now, Nguyen never charged for the game, and these unofficial versions of Flappy Bird still show ads, but this all probably still counts as piracy.
But that’s what happens when you try to block the use of an addictive substance. Previously, Flappy Bird fans were just really into a game. Now, potentially, they are going to criminal lengths to get a fix.
GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.