Did Nintendo Really Have Something to Do With "Flappy Bird" Getting Banned?

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Dec. 9 2020, Updated 8:50 a.m. ET

featured flappy bird
Source: Flappy Bird

It's the stuff every mobile app developer, especially people who are creating games that they subsequently charge folks for, dreams of. Everyone wants to make a title that becomes a worldwide phenomenon, one that users download so much you're rolling in money. So why did "Flappy Bird's" creator remove it from mobile OS App Stores, and was the game officially banned?

Article continues below advertisement

So why did "Flappy Bird" get banned? Wait just a darn minute: it wasn't.

There have been a lot of rumors behind the "banning" of "Flappy Bird" from the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Some folks have speculated that it had something to do with Nintendo viciously going after Vietnamese game developer Dong Nguyen. 

Anyone who knows anything about the gaming industry will tell you that although they have a cute, cuddly, and kid-friendly appeal, Nintendo is straight-up savage when it comes to protecting its intellectual property.

Seriously, they've reached Disney levels of aggression when it comes to litigating folks for not licensing their property, like an Arizona couple who were forced to fork over $12 million to Nintendo for operating two separate websites that allowed users to play Nintendo titles online via in-browser emulation.

The sites were peppered with ads that Nintendo says the couple profited handsomely from.

Article continues below advertisement
why did flappy bird get banned
Source: Flappy Bird

In addition to the ad revenue, Nintendo also pointed out that the couple constantly asked for donations from gamers who enjoyed their sites, which were populated with tons of titles from the iconic Japanese gaming manufacturer. The trouble is, they didn't have any permission from Nintendo to do so and were illegally allowing folks to play these titles without approaching Nintendo for a license.

Article continues below advertisement

But even though Nintendo is an absolute legal juggernaut, the company was not the reason that Dong Nguyen took "Flappy Bird" off the App Store. At least there's nothing to officially suggest that.

Article continues below advertisement

The title had managed to accrue a whopping 50 million+ downloads before Dong pulled the plug on the game. His reasoning for calling it quits was because he felt "guilty" that so many people were becoming addicted to the title and were overusing the game.

This explanation only further fueled speculation that Dong was attempting to avoid some legal trouble from Nintendo, as the game clearly borrows aesthetics from the "Super Mario" universe.

That, coupled with the fact that the title is essentially "Fly Ribbon" with a separate skin, had many believe that Dong decided to cash out with some $3 million to his name because he "couldn't take the pressure." 

Dong ultimately refuted claims that Nintendo was after him, as per IGN, but says that his life wasn't "as comfortable" as it was before the game's massive success.

Article continues below advertisement

When was "Flappy Bird" made?

The title was officially launched on May 24, 2013, and less than a year later it was deleted on February 10, 2014. In that time, Dong was able to make a killing, and who knows what he'd have been able to do with the game's franchise if he decided to stay the course and market the heck out of it? Hell, "Angry Birds" got not one, but two separate movies.

Article continues below advertisement

Do you miss "Flappy Bird"? Well, if you do, fret not, there are plenty of other clones on the app marketplace that you'll be able to download and enjoy. Sure, they don't have the same name, but then again, it's not like "Flappy Bird" was the most complicated of games. It did, however, did enough things right to become a global phenomenon and make its creator a multi-millionaire. So there's that.

More from Distractify

Latest Gaming News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.