« The Bader Blog

Bye Bye Flappy Bird

by Jerry Bader

So, my younger daughter recently shared with me a game app she recently discovered: "Flappy Bird." She had two comments. It was ridiculously difficult and she couldn't stop playing it. I tried and agreed with the ridiculously difficult part. She pushed on and improved her score, slightly. What I didn't realize is that millions of users felt exactly the same way she did; this is really difficult, but I can't get enough.

In fact, it appears that the difficulty was the draw. Most game apps see novice players get much higher scores. And you generally improve with play. But the improvement curve with "Flappy Bird" was often minimal, but players were convinced they could grow with more play.

Then, suddenly, the developer pulled the plug Sunday.  At the height of its success Dong Nguyen decided the game was too addictive, that he never intended for players to engage for hours on end. Of course, that's what every game app developer dreams of! No, he thought that was the "main negative," so he took it down. Given that this was a $50,000 a day revenue stream, many think it's a publicity stunt to build hype for future games. Seems a rather costly stunt. It is available at online sites.

I find it interesting that my daughter's experience matched that of most users. Hate it, can't stop playing it. Time will tell if Dong Nguyen has found the app magic recipe.