While some might claim that Flappy Bird was a great way to save money on entertainment costs (due to the hours many played the game) others would say it was nothing more than a waste of time. Either way the argument ended when the game was taken down earlier this year. But that’s all changed, in a move that seems somewhat counter-intuitive to his last decision to remove the game from the market. Flappy Bird game designer Dong Nguyen has announced the return of his game in a new format.
The original Flappy Bird was a mobile game where players were challenged to keep a bird in the air and direct it between pipes on the screen.
The game had skyrocketed to the top of the app charts in February this year when the Vietnamese game designer unexpectedly pulled it from the stores. His move deprived millions of players from obtaining the “must have” game of the moment, and cut off the $50,000 per day advertising revenue stream it was earning him at the time.
His only comment on the matter came in February to Forbes when he said “Flappy Bird has unexpected effects. It causes addiction … and I have to remove it.”
Though disappointed, his fans did look kindly on the game designer with the big heart, and they were soon appeased by dozens of copycat games which used his popular framework.
Yesterday though, Dong quietly re-released Flappy Bird in an updated format in the Amazon Appstore. The new game is called “Flappy Bird’s Family” and it has been recrafted by Dong to be more challenging. It also allows a two player format.
Cnet reports that the newly released game “features split screen action, new characters, and fresh obstacles in the form of pixelated octopus-like blobs that fans might recognize as the Twitter icon of creator Dong Nguyen.” Most notable though, is the fact that it’s only playable on the Fire TV set-top box.
Arstechnica makes an excellent point about Dong’s latest move to re-launch the game exclusively. It’s free to download and doesn’t have the ads that it used to have – so how is it actually profitable for Dotgear – the company Dong works for?
We have to assume that it’s one of two things. Either a delayed release to the Apple and Google Play stores, or a smart ploy by Amazon to attract users to its new device – the Fire TV.
Flappy Bird is the type of game which has real pulling power. That’s exactly what Amazon could use in this overcrowded console market. But if an exclusive deal is what’s behind the move by Dong, you’d think Amazon would be making more of an effort to big-note it. At this point there’s still been no announcements timed in with the August 1st launch of Flappy Bird’s Family.
We have to ask though – can a mobile game capture an audience for long enough to keep them at home and thoroughly grounded in front of a big screen?