'Flappy Bird' Game Deleted: Nintendo Denies Copyright Claim

The Japanese gaming brand denies asking creator Dong Nguyen to remove the game.

 @theabigailelise
on February 11 2014 12:05 PM
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Nintendo denies asking Dong Nguyen to remove "Flappy Bird." Courtesy/GEARS Studio

Nintendo did not ask “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen to pull the game from Google Play and Apple iOS stores.

"While we usually do not comment on the rumors and speculations, we have already denied the speculation," a spokesperson for the Japanese gaming conglomerate told The Wall Street Journal.

Nguyen claimed he removed the game 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 game. “It is not anything related to legal issues; I just cannot keep it anymore,” he posted on Feb. 8.

dong Dong Nguyen's tweet on Feb. 8.  Courtesy/Twitter/dongatory

Though he admitted he was a fan of early Nintendo games, many players and bloggers suggested he was more than a fan, as “Flappy Bird” was similar in many ways to 1985’s “Super Mario Bros.” Kotaku even called the mobile game “plagiarism” and “ripped art.” Another blogger questioned whether the massive success of “Flappy Bird" was 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."

Users are still baffled as to why Nguyen chose to remove “Flappy Bird” from the app stores while it was bringing in $50,000 daily in ad revenue. App review site Apple’N’Apps reported the game wasn’t voluntarily removed by Nguyen. Nintendo allegedly contacted Apple regarding the early-Nintendo-like appearance of the game, claiming Apple was in violation of the Japanese company’s copyright. Apple then contacted Nguyen regarding the claim, alerting Nguyen he had 24 hours to remove “Flappy Bird.”

When Nguyen decided to pull the game, he received a high number of negative responses, including death threats and suicide tweets. Even if a majority of these messages weren’t serious, this gives you an idea of the massive amount of attention Nguyen endured during the game's sudden increase in popularity.

While "Flappy Bird" is no longer available, Nguyen's other two games, “Super Ball Juggling” and “Shuriken Block,” can still be found in the app store. “It wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo has asked Apple to remove a game from the App Store for copyright infringement,” said iPhonehacks. “Apple has removed a ‘Duck Hunt’ clone and several ‘Pokemon’ ripoffs based on Nintendo’s request.”

Do you think Nintendo asked Nguyen to remove the game? Leave a comment below or tweet me!

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