How did a chain-smoking geek from Hanoi design the viral hit Flappy Bird - and why did he walk away?
Last April, Dong Nguyen, a quiet 28-year-old who lived with his parents in Hanoi, Vietnam, and had a day job programming location devices for taxis, spent a holiday weekend making a mobile game. He wanted it to be simple but challenging, in the spirit of the Nintendo games he grew up playing. The object was to fly a bug-eyed, big-lipped, bloated bird between a series of green vertical pipes. The quicker a player tapped the screen, the higher the bird would flap. He called it Flappy Bird.
The game went live on the iOS App Store on May 24th. Instead of charging for Flappy Bird, Nguyen made it available for free, and hoped to get a few hundred dollars a month from in-game ads.
But with about 25,000 new apps going online every month, Flappy Bird was lost in the mix and seemed like a bust â€“ until, eight months later, something crazy happened. The game went viral. By February, it was topping the charts in more than 100 countries and had been downloaded more than 50 million times. Nguyen was earning an estimated $50,000 a day. Not even Mark Zuckerberg became rich so fast.Yet as Flappymania peaked, Nguyen remained a mystery. Aside from the occasional tweet, he had little to say about his incredible story. He ducked the press and refused to be photographed. He was called a fraud, a con man and a thief. Bloggers accused him of stealing art from Nintendo. The popular gaming site Kotaku wrote in a widely clicked headline, FLAPPY BIRD IS MAKING $50,000 A DAY OFF RIPPED ART.
interesting read on why the hell he decided to pull Flappy Bird from the app store... of course there were a crapload of people talking about it, with everybody's opinions being tossed around, but i was always kind of curious — i still can only dream about slapping an app together and pulling in $50K a day.