Monday, February 10, 2014

'Flappy Bird's' demise causes spike in eBay auctions of phones with app preinstalled

As promised -- and expected -- the developer of "Flappy Bird" removed the app from both the App Store and Google Play Store on Sunday. What was not expected was the surge in sales of mobile devices -- those carrying "Flappy Bird" -- on eBay, which the USA Today spied on Monday.

There are a number of auctions for iPhones with "Flappy Bird" that can currently be seen on eBay. How long they stay there -- as eBay may pull them for TOS violations -- is a good question.

What's interesting is that a search for completed listings doesn't bring up any phones -- T-shirts and earrings, yes.

These are all iPhones -- Android users can grab -- with a little work, but not a huge amount -- someone's copy from their device and sideload it onto another device. That's not so easy to do on an iOS device, though jailbroken devices will probably have alternatives.

On Sunday, "Flappy Bird" developer Dong Nguyen pulled the app, which had inexplicably surged to the top of the Free Games charts on both iTunes and Google Play, from both stores. It is unclear why he would do so; it was reported previously that the apps were bringing in $50,000 in advertising revenue daily, and Nguyen had said he was working on a Windows Phone version.

However, a series of earlier tweets from Nguyen's Twitter account suggested he may have grown uncomfortable with his sudden success. In a Feb. 4 tweet, Nguyen said:
Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.
Another possibility is legal. The art in "Flappy Bird" has been said to "more than inspired" by art in "Super Mario Bros;" some have said Nguyen basically ripped off the art.

Nguyen attempted to dispel that rumor, tweeting:
It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore.

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