'Flappy Bird' creator says game over for maddening app

File image: 'Flappy Bird'
February 10, 2014 5:34:06 AM PST
The young Vietnamese creator of hit mobile game Flappy Bird has removed it from the App Store and Google Play, saying it ruined his life.

The game, which was uploaded in 2013 but only surged to the top in downloads earlier this year, was removed early Monday. Its removal prompted some fans to put their cell phones up for sale -- preloaded with the game.

One ABC13 viewer immediately had his Samsung Galaxy S4 (with Flappy Bird installed) listed in a 24-hour auction on eBay with a starting bid of $750.

The highest-priced Flappy Bird-loaded phone we saw on eBay this morning was already at $90,000 with 15 hours left in the auction.

The success of the game that based its appeal on being simple and also maddeningly difficult made its creator Nguyen Ha Dong, 29, a minor celebrity.

The game was downloaded more than 50 million times on App Store alone. In an interview with The Verge website, Dong said Flappy Bird was making $50,000 a day in advertising revenue.

But tech blogger Carter Thomas said the sudden popularity of Flappy Bird might have been due to use of fake accounts run by computers to create downloads and reviews.

Thomas said he couldn't prove his suspicion and that the success of Flappy Bird might also be explained by it being "just a wildly viral game."

Dong, from Hanoi, wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the Internet sensation caused by the game "ruins my simple life" and he now hated it.

"I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore," he wrote.

Dong had agreed to talk to The Associated Press about the game in an interview scheduled for Friday, but canceled.

On Twitter he didn't address the inflated downloads allegation but denied suggestions he was withdrawing the game because it breached another game maker's copyright.

"It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore," he wrote.

The app is no longer available on the official Google Play, Amazon or Apple App Stores. While there are third party sites claiming to still offer the app, those are "install at your own risk" sites and could open your device to hackers.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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