Bloomberg News

Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Offers Swing Copters Game

August 22, 2014

Flappy Bird Developer Dong Nguyen

Dong Nguyen, developer of Flappy Bird. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen, who pulled that mobile game from the market because he said its popularity was ruining his life, released a new game on Apple Inc. and Google Inc. (GOOG:US) online stores called Swing Copters.

In the new app, users tap a smartphone screen to direct a character wearing a propeller headpiece flying vertically and navigating swinging, hammer-like obstacles. The title is similar in design and feel to Flappy Bird, in which users made a bird fly horizontally through gaps in pipes to score points.

Dong Nguyen shot to fame after Flappy Bird jumped to the top of rankings charts and removed that game from stores in February, writing in a Twitter Inc. post that the title “ruins my simple life.” Ouriel Ohayon, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and co-founder of Appsfire, estimated the title had earned at least $20,000 a day and as much as $50,000.

“The challenge is to come out with an even better product,” Lam Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City-based country director at International Data Corp., said in a phone interview today. He believes the developer, after some time out of the spotlight, is more prepared now.

Flappy Bird, without any marketing, was a global sensation, becoming the No. 1 free Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) iOS app download in 137 countries, according to App Annie Ltd., an analytics and marketing service. It was the top free Google Inc. Play download in 33 countries.

Dong Nguyen couldn’t immediately be reached on his mobile phone and didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

Independent Developers

Flappy Bird’s instant success, which relied solely on a developer’s clever ability and the global platform app stores provide, inspired young Vietnamese technologists, Lam Nguyen said. It was also a wake-up call to government officials to support independent developers, he said. Vietnam lacks the kind of technology ecosystem common in Silicon Valley, where innovators can easily find financial support and guidance for their new ideas, Lam Nguyen added.

In February, Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology started a five-year, $200 million project to promote innovation and new technology companies, Vietnam News reported. The government’s goal is the creation of 5,000 science and technology companies by 2020.

Dong Nguyen wasn’t prepared for the success and rapid growth of Flappy Bird, according to Lam Nguyen.

“It was, ‘Wow,’ then too many complaints. So he shut it down,” he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: John Boudreau in Hanoi at jboudreau3@bloomberg.net; Aaron Clark in Tokyo at aclark27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net Aaron Clark


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