After Saturday’s revelation that Flappy Bird would be pulled from the App Store, it seemed to me – at least – that the developer was really struggling to deal with the media publicity surrounding the game. It became a hit, despite having been on the App Store for months. Seeing as Dong Nguyen was seemingly not coping with all the press, I decided that we wouldn’t publish anything else about it. That was until I saw he’d taken part in an interview – willingly – with one of the world’s most popular business publications: Wall Street Journal.
His main reason it seems is that it tapped in to the addictive sides of our psyches. Flappy Bird was supposed to be a “game that people could enjoy for a few minutes.” He told WSJ that “it was just too addictive.” He clearly felt bad that something that was supposed to be such an unimportant game for dropping in and out of from time to time became addictive and would take up hours of players’ time. “That was the main negative. So I decided to take it down.”
Between Saturday and this morning, I’ve seem some terrible articles written about how he might have ulterior motives, and he’s simply performing some sort of publicity stunt. He’s received death threats by gamers, and been accused of plagiarism. Hopefully, this article and interview with WSJ will go some way to silencing the skeptics. For some it seems hard to believe that anyone would get rid of such a major source of income. At its highest peak, it was earning him $50k per day in advertising.
His game developing, he stated, is purely a personal hobby. He enjoys it, and Flappy Bird’s success completely changed the quiet life he was used to. As reported by WSJ:
He still lives at home with his parents in Hanoi, but finds it difficult to walk down the street in his neighborhood without being pestered. He says he has virtually disconnected himself from the Internet and hasn’t checked his email in days. He is also on vacation from his day job writing firmware for sophisticated computer hardware and said he isn’t sure if or when he will return to work.
The fuss, Mr. Dong says, “is extremely uncomfortable” and he is waiting for his life to return to normal. He refused to be photographed or filmed for this article.
If Nguyen wants to live the quiet life away from all this craziness, I respect him for that, even if it means losing the masses of income he was receiving. I know, personally, that I would never sacrifice my own quality of life and the time with my family and friends just to make a ton of cash. And, unless something really major happens like Flappy Bird re-appearing on the App Store, this is the last time I’ll write about it.