Dong Nguyen

What price fame? OK, maybe that’s too deep to lead with, but you get the point. For the beginning of 2014, it seemed all but a lock that Flappy Bird would be the next Angry Birds with all the social media buzz it was getting. So much buzz that its creator, Dong Nguyen, eventually succumbed to the pressure and took it down. What could cause someone with such a successful app to want to take it down? Let’s look at 5 possible reasons.

1. He hates money
By all accounts the game was and continues to be wildly successful based on the estimated 50k a day in advertising revenue it was acquiring. That being said, most people can’t understand turning off a faucet that pours you in a day what a lot of people would like to make in a year. But maybe this tweet gives us some insight.

Here Nguyen says that he will no longer be considered “indie” if he takes certain steps, and he also says in prior tweets that he never sells his work. Maybe he’s simply happy creating art for art’s sake and doesn’t want to sell out?
2. We’re all jerks
This Retweet shows us that the creator was tired of accusations he had stolen an existing game.

People today LOVE digging up “proof” that someone has stolen something from someone else, when in years past people would have said this game, “paid homage to” or was “inspired by” another game of the same mold. Today? We accuse someone who made something that makes millions of people happy (and frustrated and then happy again) of plagiarism.

3. Wait and See
The second to last tweet from the creator:

This let’s us know that while Flappy Bird had to come down, he isn’t dead yet when it comes to making games. As one of the hottest free agents in the mobile market, it could stand to reason that Flappy Bird was only the first salvo from a talented creator who has even bigger and, scarier still, even more addicting apps brewing in his mind. Time will tell but you can bet that when the next game he makes is released, those in the know are going hit download ASAP.

4. We’re all jerks part 2
How many articles and tweets did you see like the one Dong retweeted here?

Maybe, just maybe, Dong felt bad about how much people were playing, disregarding the real world to tap away in frustration for hours on end. Remember as the Dark Knight taught us, you can either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain. Maybe sensing his own impending villainy, Nguyen removed the App rather than cause his users further duress.

5. The sneakerhead model
There isn’t a particular tweet hinting at this, but keep the recent business model Nike has made popular in mind.
1. Preview shoe
2. Announce release date for shoe
3. Only sell shoe for a limited time in a limited quantity in limited markets in limited stores (LIMITED!!!)
4. Watch as the shelves empty in minutes
5. Count money
6. Re release said shoe again, wash, rinse, repeat

Imagine for a moment the buzz around the creator’s next game, or that he releases Flappy Birds again for one night only on his birthday at a dollar a download. He’d be set for life and the app store would probably crash. While I don’t think this is his intent, the potential is definitely there. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to create a multimillion dollar App revolving around the surprisingly adventurous life of birds….

Kyle Robinson is by day a not-so mild mannered drone for one of the world’s largest tech companies, by night he’s a sports enthusiast/wrestling smark/videogame geek/travel nut/chicken connoisseur/ comic book nerd and self- proclaimed “hopefully non-threatening black man”. Follow him at on Twitter here  for tweets that he hopes get more RTs, because that’s how he validates his existence.

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