Feb. 10 - The Flappy Bird developer's controversial move to take down the successful mobile gaming app has raised eyebrows about the true reason he called it quits. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The mystery of why the app "Flappy Bird"- the former most popular free mobile game on both Apple's App store and Google's Android Play stores- was grounded by its developer is growing. After putting out a tweet saying "Twenty-two hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down" and adding "It is not anything related to legal issues" the Vietnam-based independent developer took down the app. Flappy Bird is a very simple game- users just steer the bird through pipes- but it's very addictive. The Android version had been downloaded up to 50 million times and attracted more than a half a million reviews. He says it was inspired by Nintendo's Mario Brothers, and while two friends of his said he had received a warning letter- Nintendo says it was not considering a lawsuit. The whole thing is weird, says Mashable's Lance Ulanoff. SOUNDBITE: LANCE ULANOFF, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, MASHABLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "For whatever reason this young man, out in Vietnam who has been very active on Twitter started responding to all those players, people like me who couldn't stop and people were being funny. 'Oh my gosh I couldn't take it.' 'I couldn't close my eyes.' 'My eyes are bleeding you know.' And his responses were totally serious; like he didn't understand that people were kind of having a good time here. And then he pulled the plug. But no one, I repeat no one, seems to know the whole story here." Just hours before he pulled the plug- he released an update. Now people are selling phones with the game on it- and the bids are growing. The developer, Nguyen Ha Dong has said the free app was bringing in an average of $50,000 a day in ad revenue- but Ulanoff says it's not clear how much he actually gets. SOUNDBITE: LANCE ULANOFF, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, MASHABLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If the money is coming in, say, through Google if its Google's AdSense, he maynot get all of it, or part of it, or some of it because of the questions that are now being raised about the app, and the fact that he pulled it down. He cut the cord. So I am not certain, you know, of exactly what happened and whether or not he gets to be rich." Dong could not be reached for comment. He turned his telephone off after cancelling an interview with Reuters on Thursday. His website, dotgears, with his other games, is still up and running. His most recent tweet- "And I still make games."