New smartphone addiction “Flappy Bird” is reportedly earning $50,000 per day. The sales figures were revealed on Feb. 5 by the game’s Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen.
"The reason Flappy Bird is so popular is that it happens to be something different from mobile games today, and is a really good game to compete against each other," Nguyen said in an interview with The Verge. "People in the same classroom can play and compete easily because [Flappy Bird] is simple to learn, but you need skill to get a high score."
Nguyen’s game inspiration came from Cheep Cheep in Super Mario Bros. Including ads in the game added a modern touch. "I want to make an ads-based game because it is very common in the Japanese market — minigames are free and have ads," Nguyen said.
“Flappy Bird” was published by Vietnam-based Gears Studio last May. The title is currently being downloaded 2-3 million times per day in Google Play and Apple iOS stores. "Flappy Bird" received an iPhone update in May and an iOS6 update in September. It topped the free category of downloadable games in the American and Chinese iTunes App Store at the end of January 2014. Take that, "Candy Crush."
“Flappy Bird” isn’t terribly complicated. Players must tap the screen to control a chubby, 8-bit bird. The objective of “Flappy Bird” is to maneuver spaces between green pipes that resemble 1985’s NES class “Super Mario Bros.”
AmongTech praised the game’s strategy, saying it could outdo “Candy Crush Saga” as the most-popular mobile game of 2014. “Candy Crush” has been the most downloaded game on iOS and Android since March 2013 and has been downloaded more than 500 million times. “'Flappy Bird' is incredibly simple and has several times been described as the “Drug of the App Store” because of how addictive it is,” AmongTech said.
Some critics believe the game's massive success is due to the use of bots, or fake accounts run by computers, to falsely create downloads or reviews. "Looking at some of the top apps in the store by Nguyen, I hate to say it, but it looks really similar to bot activity," Carter Thomas, of online marketing company Bluecloud Solutions, said in a recent blog post. "Of course, I can’t prove this and there are strong cases for lots of different potential growth strategies, but I do want to bring this up to engage a discussion and get industry leaders to weigh in with some analysis so that we can find out how this happened."
Developer Nguyen said that the success of "Flappy Bird" is simply viral -- the game lacks any major ads or marketing, but it's popularity has spread through word-of-mouth.
“Flappy Bird” is available for free on iPhones and Androids.
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