Flappy Bird developer overwhelmed, taking bestselling app off App Store

Dong Nguyen, the developer of Flappy Bird, the viral hit that remains at the top of the App Store rankings, has promised on Twitter to remove the app from the App Store because the sheer amount of attention the app has drawn is something he isn’t interested in dealing with.

Amazing to watch this unfold. Early last week, the cracks started to show. A Newsweek reported contacted Nguyen, asking for an interview. Nguyen’s reply:

Hi Joe, I think press should give my game some peace. Its success is really overrate! I’m sorry, I refuse to answer questions.

And then, a few minutes later:

Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.

And finally, yesterday afternoon:

I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.

As a reminder, up to this point, Flappy Bird has been an incredible success story. My guess is that some cynics will see this as a PR move, an attempt to build momentum. Personally, I think this is a developer whose life has been taken over by something he never intended, who is feeling overwhelmed by his success. It happens.

If I was Dong Nguyen’s friend (I don’t know him), I would advise him to hold off a few days before taking the app down. That is a big decision with, no doubt, unforeseen consequences. I’m guessing a takedown will make a lot of people unhappy. If the money is not an issue, perhaps you can release the app to the public domain so others can learn from your hard work or gift the whole thing to an organization like NSCoderNight or CocoaHeads.

Best of luck.

  • Lukas

    The app is simple enough that it won’t be particularly useful to release the code.

    Personally, I can see where Nguyen’s coming from. It’s tough to deal with the kind of stuff the Internet throws at you when you become even only vaguely prominent. Flappy Bird got some terrible, mean-spirited feedback. I’m sure this can be extremely stressful, especially if you’re already dealing with other issues in your life.

  • crateish

    World’s smallest violin playing for dude who made hundreds of thousands or millions.

  • def4

    Ignoring people completely is a crucial skill for dealing with success.

  • I read somewhere that the dev disclosed he was (currently) making $50k/day on the app and it brought in a lot of hate. At best, his success was undeserved because his app was a cheap knock off and there are more talented indie studios doing amazing things. At worst, horrible racial slurs. I think any hobbyist would find that overwhelming.

  • Billy Razzle

    Yeah, it must be awful having some people say your game sucks while it’s making you $50,000.00 a day.

    Sounds like torture.

  • fbolte

    Maybe he just didn’t want too many people investigating the seemingly suspicious rise of his apps


    (Disclaimer: bluecloudsolutions itself seems to be questionable, as it recommends app re-skinning and using lots of ads, but what they found out about flappy bird still looks … interesting.)

  • Flappy Bird is great mobile game.. thank you for the article