If you've never played the game, you've at least heard of it. And by hear of it, we mean you've played the game. This insanely addictive game has been literally everywhere, and yes, I mean literally. The simple gameplay and unimpressive graphics have given Flappy Bird an unexpected and overwhelming amount of success. I remember the first time I played the game and struggled to get past my high score of one for the first hour (I'm at a 76 now if anyone was wondering). That was only about two weeks ago, and now after boasting around a $50,000 daily ad revenue, Dong Nguyen, creator of Flappy Bird and ruiner of lives has decided that he is going to remove the highly popular app from the app store.
Now the first question that will pop into everyone's head is this.
Why the fu....
My first instinct was that as well. You, Dong Nguyen, a self-proclaimed independent gamer, has taken the entire gaming world by storm. While companies are dumping millions of dollars into better graphics and more complex gameplay, you just combined poor graphics with one-tap gameplay. And it worked.
Not only did your game, and yes your game, become one of the most popular games of all time, it catapulted you into superstardom. Well, in a technological sense. This is the first time I can recall an insanely popular app being developed by an independent. Mostly everything else was developed by highly skilled teams or specialists, and here is Dong Nguyen's masterpiece. The masterpiece that is the farthest thing from a masterpiece. Simplicity over everything. This theme resonates with his other popular apps as well (Shuriken Block, Juggling) which have also cracked the top 10 simply because of Flappy Bird's success.
The guy made it. He achieved many people's dreams of becoming rich, successful, famous.
And he's throwing it away? Why the fu....
And yes, $50,000 a day is indeed a hefty amount. But like one of the greatest philosophers of our time has once said, mo' money, mo' problems. Biggie Smalls, after gaining immense fame, got murdered. So yes, mo' money, mo' problems indeed. In Nguyen's case, I doubt murder wil be a factor, but Biggie's phrase does apply here.
After my initial disbelief at such a random and bold move, I started reading his tweets. Ever since I followed him, I realized that this was a swell guy. He was humble, modest, and was not in it for the fame or the money ever. Dear God, if he was in it for the money, he could've upped his revenue to millions or more per day via paid versions, in-game purchases, better ad placements, etc. but he didn't. I remember the first tweet of his that I saw: "I don't do interviews :)". This theme stuck through the rest of his tweets, and while I know he eventually gave in, I can see where this sudden and unexpected rise to fame could have ruined his life. He even tweeted earlier today that Flappy Bird, while he loved it, was ruining the simplicity of his life, so he hates it.
Nonstop phone calls, emails, contact requests, interview requests, and sudden riches and fame can really get to a guy. Imagine everyone wanting a piece of him right now, his acquaintances probably begging for money, people across the globe pestering him for an interview or even just a few words. It could get annoying, and we see a case like this repeatedly. Lottery winners ruining their lives soon after, even our most-loved celebrities suffering from mental breakdowns from the fame and tabloids. While Dong is nowhere near a pop culture icon, he is an icon in the business and technology world, which is just as bad.
While I know Dong will never read this, I would just like to say a few words to him:
I admire your decision and respect your modesty. Money is not everything, and thousands of dollars a day in exchange for ruining a simple and happy life is not a worthy trade-off. Your desire to remain an independent developer, thus refusing to hire PR teams, assistants and so on really inspires me as a person to pursue something that I enjoy, rather than what my bank account will enjoy. Money is nothing if it doesn't make you happy. I wish you the best and will definitely support you in the future.