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Flappy Bird Creator May Have Been Scared By Legal Threats After All

Feb 10 2014, 11:20am CST | by

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Flappy Bird Creator May Have Been Scared By Legal Threats After All

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Flappy Bird Creator May Have Been Scared By Legal Threats After All

One of the great smartphone soap operas of our time reached a bizarre climax over the weekend when Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen removed Flappy Bird , then the world’s most popular free app, from both the Google Play store and Apple's App Store.

If you believe Dong’s version of events shared via Twitter , the near overnight success of a game he created in just a few days was blown out of proportion by the media and just became too much to handle. But reports are beginning to emerge that the developer may have been feeling pressure from elsewhere.

Flappy Bird has reportedly been bringing the one-man app shop as much as $50,000 a day in advertising revenues, but Dong plucked it from the Internet, explaining via Twitter that the move had nothing to do with legal issues, but rather that he worried the world was “overusing” his simplistic but insanely difficult and addictive creation.

“I cannot take this anymore,” Dong wrote in a tweet on Saturday, along with a warning that he would be taking the game down on Sunday at noon Eastern time, a promise he kept to, right on schedule.

In the days leading up to the takedown, Dong seemed to blame his increasing stress level largely on the press and a constant stream of media requests, tweeting to a Newsweek reporter:

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

However, two of Dong’s friends told Reuters that he had received a warning letter from Nintendo — the ubiquitous pipes in Flappy Bird and other art appears to be lifted without any modification from the company’s Super Mario games.  Nintendo refused to confirm or comment on the letter to Reuters.

In an earlier interview with Vietnam’s VnExpress , Dong said he had received emails from developers accusing him of copying features from their apps, a charge he denied.

“This game was written entirely by me and I do not copy it from anyone,” he told VnExpress.

If Dong was concerned about legal problems, his strategy makes sense: to publicly deny any wrong-doing and take down the game before his profits become significant enough for big developers (like Nintendo) with big legal departments to be motivated to come looking for a cut.

But that may not stop the government of Vietnam from going after their share of Flappy Bird’s success. VnExpress reports that the country’s Ministry of Finance will be looking into Dong’s earnings from Flappy Bird with an eye towards collecting income tax, but leaders from the ministry also told the press that they were interested in providing tax incentives to encourage more software successes like Flappy Bird in the future.

Source: Forbes


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