Why Was Flappy Bird Taken Down

Flappy Bird, the addictive and wildly popular mobile game, took the world by storm when it soared to the top of the app charts. However, just as quickly as it rose, it was taken down by its creator, Dong Nguyen. This move left millions of fans wondering why such a successful game would be removed. Let’s delve into the reasons behind the disappearance of Flappy Bird.

The Rise and Fall of Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird gained immense popularity due to a series of strategic bursts of new users, which propelled it up the app charts. Each time Flappy Bird’s ranking dropped, another surge of downloads rejuvenated its position. This cycle continued for six consecutive weeks until the game had enough organic users to secure its top spot. It is estimated that Flappy Bird received approximately 75,000 downloads from these bursts.

The Underbelly of App Discovery

To understand why Flappy Bird was taken down, we need to consider the context of the mobile app industry. When Apple adjusted its App Store algorithm in 2012, it inadvertently gave rise to dubious marketing practices. Various underground companies began exploiting the app ranking system through overseas bots. These services paid real users a small fee to download a specific app within 24 hours, giving these downloads legitimacy in Apple’s ranking algorithm.

A Game of Money and Rules

Advertising a mobile game and maintaining a top spot on the app store can be an expensive endeavor. Indie developers, like Dong Nguyen, often operate on limited budgets and struggle to compete with larger companies. Legitimate advertising campaigns can cost up to $100,000, a sum beyond the means of most independent developers. As a result, some developers turn to bot farms, which promise a top rank at a fraction of the cost. However, engaging in such practices can lead to consequences, including a ban from app stores.

The Mystery Behind Flappy Bird’s Disappearance

Dong Nguyen’s decision to remove Flappy Bird from both iOS and Google Play stores remains shrouded in mystery. His only explanation, expressed via Twitter, was that the game had become a success that disrupted his simple life. Speculation arose about Apple’s potential discovery of his rumored use of bot farms or the threat of a copyright lawsuit from Nintendo. Some even speculated that the removal was a calculated marketing stunt to capitalize on the game’s last burst of virality. Nonetheless, Dong Nguyen’s other games remained available for download, leaving the true reason open to interpretation.

Hatching App Discovery 2.0

Flappy Bird’s rise and fall highlight the challenges of app discovery for indie developers. The current system often favors larger companies with substantial budgets, leaving lesser-known apps struggling to gain exposure. The use of bot farms may offer a potential shortcut to success, but it undermines the integrity of the app ecosystem and inflates the required number of downloads for legitimate developers. To level the playing field, Apple and other platforms should consider reevaluating their app discovery methods, perhaps by creating dedicated lists reserved for indie developers.


Flappy Bird’s sudden disappearance from app stores remains a captivating mystery. Dong Nguyen’s decision to remove the game, whether due to personal reasons, rule-breaking, or other factors, marks a turning point in the app industry. As app discovery becomes increasingly challenging for indie developers, it is crucial for platforms like Apple and Google to revamp their systems and help shine a spotlight on the great apps that often get lost in the vast app abyss. For more insights and answers to your questions, visit Top Q&A.

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