Saturday afternoon, “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen mysteriously shut down his wildly popular game.
The game’s simple premise and interface (steer a bird through an obstacle course of vertical pipes by tapping on your phone’s screen) earned it plenty of fans, and its maddeningly frustrating difficulty level made it the subject of many how-to videos and articles. Originally released in May 2013, it became the top free iPhone app in mid-January, without Nguyen doing much in the way of promotion.
Then Nguyen Tweeted that he’d be removing the game from the app store.
A few more Tweets followed, though they didn’t exactly illuminate the situation.
At the root of Nguyen’s decision seemed to be his conflict over Flappy Bird’s success: He Tweeted at various points that people are “overusing” the game and that attention from the game will detract from his status as an indie game maker.
Most telling is this Tweet from early Saturday, shortly before Nguyen made his announcement about yanking the game:
Currently, phones with the game installed are being offered online for thousands of dollars, though without support, the app could cease functioning at any time.
Nguyen hasn’t commented further since Saturday.
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