Flappy Bird - how did this happen?


I would like to ask you if you’ve seen Flappy Bird on Google Play (also available on iOS).

On GP it has 10M-50M downloads and 301k ratings with an average of 4.1.

What’s so incredible about it? It was released on the 22nd of January and is now #1 Overall in 16 countries.

How do you think this happened? Why is it such a huge success, what’s the recipe?

Flappy Bird on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dotgears.flappybird
Flappy Bird on Appannie: Flappy Bird - Google Play Top Apps | App Annie

Ok I’ve been waiting for someone to notice from this forum… It looks like a genuine “app went viral” scenario but it did exist for about 6 months on iOS … So possibility of some bot traffic there to spike it in the charts, or perhaps a YouTube video review from most subscribed user did it…

Nonetheless, this guy got super lucky, and pulls in $50k a day from admob banners only. He also gets 2m-3m downloads a day.

I also saw it. People seems to know it well according to their comments.

I was about to open a thread about this, i am really surprised about 2 things:

  1. I know simplicity is a good thing in mobile games but how did a game THAT simple become so successful?
  2. The amount of downloads in such a small time, never heard about an app expanding that fast

That´s one lucky guy…

It even has a page on wikipedia: Flappy Bird - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If you look at the stats from appannie on iOS you will see the game listed in the top categories in May 2013, then nothing new happened until December when it started to get featured again.

I have 2 ideas for what happened: massive advertising, paying millions for buying installs, paid reviews, etc or cheating the number of downloads.

I also thought that it looks like shit, it is not polished in some places (bugs in so small app…), but I have to agree that it may be addictive by being irritating, really.

Interesting read:

The lesson of Flappy Bird for games developers, and it?s not what you think | Gamezebo

Do you guys think the game would have had even more success if the graphics were better, more polished?

I knew about it before hand. I think it spiked because of the vine app. The main vine page posted it then the other vine pages posted it. They all have a couple million followers a piece. Every day after that I seen flappy bird on my wall.

Nothing new to me. It reminds me of line bird. Same concept with less graphics

There’s no known evidence of bots and just seems like one of those really lucky indie developers making a splash right around november and into the holiday season. The initial traction came from Asian countries and Russia before making it’s way to the US. According to some friends in the ad space, he generates roughly 50k a day in advertising - great for him because he’s a one man shop from Vietnam and seems like overall a nice guy.

We’ll see how long the hype about the game lasts but for now I’m sure he’s enjoying the success and/or working on the next updates. Should be interesting to see - for now he’s the most hated developer on twitter because of how frustrating his game is.

I am looking at appannie for iOS rankings and he released the game on the 24th of May 2013. Until beginning of December the game didn’t get in the top rankings in too many countries. But after that it just went ballistic. What caused the sudden rise? I don’t think the holiday season was the only reason. Something happened in the beginning of December.

I think it’s a combination of its difficulty, strangely endearing pixel graphics, and the quirky name. The collision detection is a bit off, but otherwise the controls, scrolling and animation are pretty crisp and smooth. The strangely addicting and downright infuriatingly hard game play compelled users to write “interesting” app reviews, which turned into an ad-hoc contest of writing the funniest review and posting it to Twitter, which went viral. The rest is history.

If the current income holds, that Vietnamese guy is set to make $18 million per year. Good for him.

Nope, that is one of the reasons it makes it stand out. It’s MineCraft like. :slight_smile:

Many people hate him because they can’t win the game. Some people even damaged their phones while playing it, I guess.

From my n00b perspective, there’s nothing special or magical going on in terms of ad placement or frequency. When you’re playing, there’s no ad. When you die, a banner ad appears (and so far it seems to be the same ad through the whole play session). You die a lot so the ad appears a lot. I don’t know much about these things so I’m wondering: could he be using a cost per impression system? Is it even possible to do that? And how likely is it that single users click on multiple ads or click on multiple occasions?

Can anyone of you more experienced devs shed some light or provide a bit of analysis? What can we learn and/or emulate in terms of generating that kind of revenue? Obviously the game is really popular, but is it just the sheer volume of users (click % remains the same but more users = more clicks)?

Unfortunately the lad cannot take it anymore. He is unpublishing the app as apparently its causing him sleepless nights and probably too much money… LOL…‘Flappy Bird’ to be removed from app stores, developer tweets - latimes.com

What’s surprising is that the game didn’t take of until December on iOS even though it was published in May.

So obviously something happened in December that made this game get viral.

I initially thought he bought a lot of downloads or used bots to fake the download numbers.

Now I have another theory: someone with a lot of friends/followers/subscribers on facebook/twitter/youtube wrote something about the game, posted a high score, challenged other people to this game. Every person that accepted the challenge also posted a message with their own score, trying to prove they were better. And so did the craziness began.

I wonder if he will really remove the game. He must be under a lot of pressure. Maybe all the hate is a problem to him to cope with.

And finally he didn’t break his promise. He kept his word. Flappy birds is not available on Google play and apple store. Damn…I wouldn’t mind the stress if it comes with $50K a day. At $50,000 a day you can hate me as much as you like… Worst case, i would just switch my phone and computer and go for holidays while the money trickles in…

This has to be one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard. Why would he take it down right at the peak of its success? It was all over the world news this week so I wouldn’t be surprised if he was making closer to $100k the last few days. All of us are dreaming about this but he can’t handle it? That’s more than enough money to hire other people to handle everything