The puzzling case of the overnight success of Flappy Bird

By now most people have at least heard about the uber-addictive game Flappy Bird. Whether it’s due to the maddening difficulty of the game or the creator suddenly pulling the app from both Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android, the game has had a unique life, one that is apparently over for good.

Flappy Bird Game Over

With the news that Flappy Bird was going to be taken down, free enterprise took over as eBay and Craigslist became flooded with iPhones and Android devices loaded with the app and outrageous price tags. While eBay eventually pulled the plug on phones for sale, one drew a mind-boggling (and idiotic, in my opinion) bid of $99,000. Yes, you read that correctly. While there’s no way to know if it was in fact a serious bid, the game has had an international impact.

Of course, after the creator sent out this tweet:

The ever-present “Internet tough guy” mentality that permeates Twitter flooded Nguyen with death threats and suicide notes over the imminent deletion of the app as Eli Langer documented. (Warning: NSFW-ish language.)

So what does this all mean? Why would an app that pulls in approximately $50,000 in ad revenue per day suddenly be pulled down? According to the creator it was due to its addictive nature, but as marketers you have to wonder if this is merely a marketing tactic to increase visibility on his next creation as he vows to “still make games.”

Expanding our view to the entire mobile gaming market, has Flappy Bird changed the landscape of mobile gaming in pulling it down while at the top? Is it possible that game creators will harness the power of what is essentially a limited time offer like the McRib?

While I don’t profess to be a hardcore mobile gamer, looking at this from a marketing perspective has certainly piqued my interest as we move forward without the 8-bit bird. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts about Nguyen and his sudden ascent to the top of mobile gaming. Was he just not prepared? Is he harnessing Flappy Bird’s power for future use? Leave us a comment or send us a Tweet with your thoughts.


Didn’t download the game but want to experience similar madness?

Here’s a list of similar games to feed your need: The Three Best Alternatives to Flappy Bird.

Leave a Reply