By the end of 2013, more than half a billion people had installed Candy Crush Saga, and the addictive game app was generating just a little less than $1 million per day, according to its developer, King. Candy Crush Saga was the most downloaded app of the year in 2013, according to Apple.
That's pretty good for an app that only launched in April 2012 for Facebook and in November of that year for smartphones. If you look at Google search trends data, Candy Crush saw a slow and steady rise in searches starting in January 2013, hit its peak in August 2013, then fell a bit and remained mostly steady.
Here’s the Google trends chart for "Candy Crush", from Jan. 2012 to now:
Flappy Bird was first launched by Dong Nguyen in May 2013, and then upgraded for iOS in September. The game is a Helicopter clone with Mario-inspired graphics, the game was probably cobbled together in a week.
It was pretty much ignored until early to mid-January 2014, when it took off. By the end of the month, Flappy Bird surpassed Candy Crush in the number of Google searches.
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Here’s a Google Trends chart comparing “Candy Crush” to “Flappy Bird,” from early November 2013 to February 2014:
Another way of looking at the meteoric rise of Flappy Bird is to look at the number of reviews the app got on the Apple App Store.
Developer Zach Will downloaded all68,000 of Flappy Bird’s reviews on iTunes, as of Feb. 9, 2014, and analyzed the data. Here’s the chart he made from his analysis, looking at the number of reviews Flappy Bird received every day from June 2013 to this month:
From Will’s blogpost:
On Feb. 1st, reviews exploded to 800 in a single hour. 6,500 iTunes App Store reviews in a single day. Feb. 1st is the day Dong Nguyen woke up, stretched, checked email, checked Twitter, checked iTunes, and witnessed millions of downloads happening. Millions.
You can only imagine what that must have felt like. This is the same app no one cared about for more than half a year. Just one month prior, it was a great day if Flappy Bird got 20 total reviews on the App Store. Up until Jan. 9, there had never been an hour in which Flappy Bird received even 10 reviews (most of the time it was under 5).
And now, less than a month after Flappy Bird went on its roller-coaster ride, Nguyentook down the app.