Popular mobile game Flappy Bird flew a little too close to the sun, and now developer Nguyen Ha Dong has removed the game from the Apple App Store and Google’s Android Play store, citing increased frustrations.
Dong’s game had become the one of the most-downloaded mobile applications on both Apple and Google’s stores, with the game being downloaded more than 50 million times on Android devices. Dong said in an interview that the app was pulling in an average of $50,000 per day in advertising revenue.
However, the Hanoi-based developer has recently become disillusioned with the game he created. On Feb. 8, Dong took to Twitter to apologize to Flappy Bird fans and tell them what to expect next.
“22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down. It is not anything related to legal issues,” Dong tweeted. He also added, “I cannot take this anymore.”
In the game Flappy Bird, users have to steer a bird between green pipes. The pipes and the background art, however, look very similar to art from Nintendo’s Mario Bros. series, causing some game fans to speculate that Dong was facing legal pressure from the gaming giant to take down his creation.
Nintendo, though, told Reuters that the company was not considering a lawsuit. “It sounds very much like a rumor, and if it is, we certainly can't comment on that,” Nintendo's media representative said.
Dong claims he created Flappy Bird himself in a few nights, pursuing a different path from other mobile game companies such as Angry Birds-creator Rovio Entertainment, which employs hundreds of programmers. According to one gaming company manager, the smaller scale of Dong’s operation could make him more susceptible to possible copyright suits.
“Dong is taking one step back to avoid legal risk because it's too difficult to deal with legal issues himself if it happens,” said Duy Doan, a senior manager at leading Vietnamese game company VTC Online, to Reuters.
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