What happened to Flappy Bird?

Flappy Bird is a mobile, arcade-style side-scroller game where players endeavor to fly birds between green pipes without hitting them.

The game was created by Vietnamese programmer and video game artist Dong Nguyen in 2013.

Flappy Bird was an instant success, surpassing 50 million downloads in the first few days after its release and earning Nguyen over $50,000 per day in advertising revenue.

In February 2014, however, Flappy Bird was removed from the App Store and Google Play despite becoming the most downloaded free game for iOS the previous month.

Creation and PopularityFlappy Bird was created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen and released in May 2013. The game featured simple one-touch controls and quickly gained immense popularity due to its addictive and frustrating gameplay.
Viral SensationFlappy Bird became a viral sensation, with millions of downloads and widespread attention from players and the media. It reached the top of app store charts and was generating significant ad revenue.
Controversy and ClonesThe game’s success was accompanied by controversy, as some players found it incredibly challenging and addictive. Numerous clones and imitations of Flappy Bird flooded app stores, creating a crowded and competitive space.
Developer’s DecisionIn February 2014, Dong Nguyen decided to remove Flappy Bird from app stores, citing concerns about the game’s addictive nature and the pressure it placed on him. He announced the removal on Twitter, leading to widespread speculation and discussions.
Impact on DeveloperDong Nguyen’s decision to remove Flappy Bird garnered both support and criticism. While he continued to develop other games, the sudden rise and fall of Flappy Bird had a significant impact on his life and career.
Legacy and InfluenceFlappy Bird left a lasting impact on the gaming industry, popularizing the “endless runner” genre and inspiring countless game developers to create similar, simple, and addictive games.
Reappearances and RemakesAfter its removal, Flappy Bird remained playable on devices that already had it installed. Additionally, various unofficial versions and remakes of the game continued to appear on app stores.
Dong Nguyen’s ReturnIn August 2014, Dong Nguyen announced that he was working on a new version of Flappy Bird with multiplayer features and obstacles. This version, titled “Flappy Birds Family,” was released exclusively for Amazon Fire TV.
Flappy Bird’s Cultural ImpactFlappy Bird became a cultural phenomenon, with references in popular media, memes, and discussions about its difficulty and addictive nature continuing long after its removal.

Negative reviews

Despite its popularity, the game was not immune from negative reviews. Some criticized Flappy Birds for its extreme difficulty level, while others believed Nguyen had blatantly copied ideas from the Mario Bros franchise.

However, there was no evidence that Flappy Birds infringed on any copyrights.

It was also alleged that Nguyen had purchased installs from bot farms to make the game appear more popular than it was.

But when one considers the advertising revenue he collected, this seems unlikely.


In early 2014, Nguyen announced he would be shutting Flappy Bird down forever: “Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes,” he said in an interview with Forbes.

But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it’s best to take down Flappy Bird.”

It was also apparent that the creator was uncomfortable with the sudden fame he was exposed to.

Nguyen was bombarded with interview requests from national and international news outlets and even appeared on television in Vietnam. 

Of course, Flappy Birds remained available to play on smartphones that had downloaded the app before it was pulled.

Some of these phones were placed on auction sites to be sold off before they, too, were removed for violations.


Six months after Flappy Birds was shut down, a game called Flappy Birds Family appeared in the Amazon Appstore for Fire TV.

Amazon confirmed that the multiplayer version of the game was from the same developer, though it did not disclose whether any money changed hands.

Wisconsin-based electronics firm Bay Tek Entertainment then released an arcade version of the original game in 2015 on a 42-inch screen with a single, giant red button to control each bird. 

Key takeaways:

  • Flappy Bird is a mobile, arcade-style side-scroller game where players endeavor to fly birds between green pipes without hitting them. The game was created by Vietnamese programmer and video game artist Dong Nguyen in 2013.
  • Flappy Birds was ultimately shut down because Nguyen was uncomfortable with the game’s addictiveness and did not enjoy the increased attention he received from the press. 
  • A family edition of Flappy Birds reappeared in the app store for Amazon Fire TVs a few months later, with the eCommerce giant confirming that it was from the same developer. An official arcade version was also released in 2015.

Quick Timeline

  • Flappy Bird was created by Vietnamese programmer Dong Nguyen in 2013 as a mobile, arcade-style side-scroller game where players guide birds through green pipes without hitting them.
  • The game became an instant success, surpassing 50 million downloads within days and generating over $50,000 per day in advertising revenue.
  • Negative reviews criticized Flappy Bird for its extreme difficulty level and alleged similarities to the Mario Bros franchise, though no copyright infringements were found.
  • In early 2014, Dong Nguyen decided to shut down Flappy Bird, citing concerns about its addictiveness and the sudden fame he gained from its success.
  • Flappy Bird remained playable on smartphones that had downloaded the app before it was removed from app stores.
  • A family edition of Flappy Bird called “Flappy Birds Family” reappeared on Amazon Appstore for Fire TV a few months after the shutdown.
  • An official arcade version of Flappy Bird was released in 2015 by Bay Tek Entertainment, featuring a giant red button to control each bird.

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