Forbes recently spoke to “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen, 29, in the aftermath of the game’s media frenzy. Though the mobile title was earning $50,000 per day at the height of its success, Nguyen pulled it from app stores this past weekend.
"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 on Feb. 5. "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. At one point, the title was currently being downloaded 2-3 million times per day in Google Play and Apple iOS stores. "Flappy Bird" received an iPhone update in May 2013 and an iOS6 update in September of last year. It topped the free category of downloadable games in the American and Chinese iTunes App Store at the end of January 2014.
On Feb. 9, Nguyen removed the game, claiming it was due to the amount of criticism and negative press it was receiving. “I am sorry, 'Flappy Bird' users, 22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down. I cannot take this anymore,” Nguyen tweeted on Saturday. He also denied that he was asked to remove the app by Nintendo, a speculation made by many gaming sites. “It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore,” he posted on Feb. 8.
On Feb. 11, Forbes spoke to Nguyen about why he yanked the game from the hands of millions of addicted users. “'Flappy Bird' was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed,” the creator said. “But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down ‘Flappy Bird.’ It’s gone forever.”
During the interview, Forbes noted the Vietnamese developer “appeared stressed.” “My life has not been as comfortable as I was before,” he said, adding “I couldn’t sleep.” Despite his troubles, Nguyen found a silver lining in the wake of the app’s success. “After the success of 'Flappy Bird,' I feel more confident, and I have freedom to do what I want to do."
Nguyen's games "Super Ball Juggling" and "Shuriken Block" are still available in app stores.