Few people have discovered Flappy Bird when it was released on iPhone in May 2013. A game that is both addictive and frustrating, which requires you to tap your screen to help a little bird fly between the obstacles that stand in front of it.
It was only eight months later that the situation took a stunning turn. First on Reddit and Twitter, where the rumor was born around this game known to be very difficult. But, as was often the case at the time, it was the Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie who set things on fire, with a video published on January 28, 2014: it will have more than 8.8 million views in ten days.
For Gaël Gilson, educational coordinator at the Haute Ecole Albert-Jacquard in Namur (Belgium), its attraction, in addition to its price (free), is its simplistic character: “You can almost put it on the toy side as you just have to tap it. The pleasure comes from this tactile aspect on the screen. » As for its difficulty, rather than a deterrent, it on the contrary encourages players to share their score on social networks in fun mixed with frustration. A title meant to be passed “from hand to hand”adds Mr. Gilson.
An improbable success and an unexpected withdrawal
A time reserved for the iPhone and iPad, Flappy Bird finally released on Android on January 30 and rose to the top of the most downloaded applications on both platforms. The craze is such that for several days in February, Flappy Bird is more searched on Google than Grand Theft Auto V. The specialized site The Verge then interviews its creator, Dong Nguyen: the Vietnamese reveals that he earns around $50,000 per day thanks to the advertisements integrated into his game.
February 8, 2014, it’s amazement: Dong Nguyen announcement on Twitter his intention to kill his goose that lays the golden eggs. Including: the application officially disappears from the platforms the next day. A few days later, he explained to Forbes that his success kept him from sleeping. Above all, he regrets that a game “designed to be played in just a few minutes to relax” reveals itself, to his great regret, if ” addictive “. Rolling Stone, who meets him, portrays a discreet developer who flees the paparazzi, fame… and the hostile messages that accompany it. Dong Nguyen nevertheless promises to prepare a new version of the game. The latter, Flappy Bird Family, arrives in August on the Amazon Fire TV platform, significantly less popular than iOS or Android. It goes completely unnoticed.
At the time, to illustrate the gap left by this commercial suicide, we highlighted the advertisements that clever people published on eBay: they offered smartphones or tablets on which the much desired game was always installed, sometimes for several dozen of thousands of dollars. Do they find takers? In any case eBay is putting the kibosh on it, and now requires phone owners to format them before putting them up for sale. At the same time, a myriad of developers are trying to ride the phenomenon by offering their own ersatz of the missing game. The site PocketGamer estimates that between February 28 and March 3, 2014, a clone of Flappy Bird appears on average every 24 minutes on the App Store. Apple and Google, like eBay, are forced to react, and prohibit the use of the term “Flappy” in their stores.
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