A screenshot of the popular mobile game Flappy Bird
Why did Nguyen Ha Dong, the Vietnamese who developed “Flappy Bird,” take the free mobile game down from Apple’s App Store and Google's Android Play store?
Is it true that he was a victim of jealous game developers, game players, and people who know nothing about creating games?
Flappy Bird, which was downloaded more than 50 million times and earned its creator some VND1 billion (US$47,500) a day from advertisements, became incredibly popular because it is “simple,” “addictive,” and “frustratingly difficult,” but also possibly caused jealousy among other game developers.
In a recent article on gamesided.com, Nick Tylwalk said the “Flappy Bird” phenomenon brought out a lot of negative emotions, from anger over the fact that its green pipes look quite a bit like the ones in a famous video game starring a plumber to jealousy among developers who put a lot more work into their mobile games and accusatory cynicism from people who assumed Dong somehow manipulated the system to get his game to the top of the App Store.
Tylwalk also pointed to some of the inaccurate media reviews done by people who do not generally review mobile games.
The Vietnamese and foreign media have focused inordinately on the fact that the game made the creator truckloads of money and speculated about legal and copyright issues.
Many players have criticized the game saying it is addictive, causes loss of sleep, keeps them away from friends and ends up destroying their life.
Dong may not have been hounded by the media or pulled down the game if he had not earned VND1 billion a day from it.
He wrote on Twitter: “I can say Flappy Bird is my success. But it also destroyed my simple life. So now I hate it.”
The actual reason for his action remains a secret, but it seems like he was a victim of jealousy.
By Trung Nghia
The writer is a journalist who lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City. The opinions expressed are his own.