Flappy Bird has had its wings clipped.
In an interview this week with the Washington Post, the Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen said he was pulling the popular app from the iTunes and Android stores because of what he termed the "negative effect" on his players. "I have a serious reason to take down the game and I would like to apologize people for that," he told the Post.
Flappy Bird, which was released last year, requires users to steer a small avian avatar through a series of pipes and backdrops that seem ripped from the old Mario Brothers games. The title, as we've noted, is desperately difficult.
It's also pretty addictive, which is "the serious reason" for its removal cited by Mr. Nguyen. In his telling, we've become hooked on his invention, and he doesn't want us to get hurt. And he feels so strongly in this regard that he's even willing to give up a reported $50,000 a day in ad revenue.
There may be something to this. Although rumblings of a lawsuit have been working their way across the Internet in recent days, Nintendo has flatly said it has absolutely no interest in going after Nguyen. ("While we usually do not comment on the rumors and speculations, we have already denied the speculation," Nintendo reps told the Wall Street Journal.)
Writing at Forbes, Anthony Wing Kosner says he takes Nguyen's explanation at face value.
"As someone who spends a lot of time with hackers and artists, I see the rationale for allowing ones creations to be ephemeral, and for placing ones own exploratory process ahead of the pursuit of money," he writes. "That being said, I think that most Americans can’t imagine a scenario in which someone would turn down $50,000 a day of passive income with the promise of bigger and better to come."
Feeling Flappy Bird starved? Maybe you should check out Nguyen's other games. They don't quite have the same hook, but hey, maybe that's a good thing.