Say what you will about Flappy Birds, it has become a bizarre success story for game developer Dong Nguyen. While major game development companies churn out title after title in hopes of hitting the big time with at least one of them, Nguyen sat at his desk after work for a couple of days and created a game that has captured the nation. Now that free, advertisement supported game generates $50,000 per day for Nguyen and his small company, dotGears.
How is it possible that a game so simple could make so much money? Nguyen himself doesn’t even know. According to an interview he did with The Verge, Flappy Bird has been around since May 2013. It didn’t generate popularity until November. Now, the game has hovered around the number one spot for Top Free Games in the App Store for months. It has been downloaded 50 million times and has more than 47,000 reviews in the App Store.
There are no in-app purchases. The game doesn’t have a lot of features. It doesn’t even have impressive graphics. It is easy to figure out, and incredibly difficult to play.
From the company’s own website, dotGears makes arcade games that are “bite-sized and take no more than a few minutes of playing right on smartphones and tablets.” The games’ themes are retro with every title being heavily pixelated and most of them with some reference to games of our childhood.
For example, Flappy Bird is based on the character Cheep Cheep from Super Mario Bros. and the iconic green pipes… well, you know.
The game, as well as dotGears’ other titles, is free to download and advertisement supported. There is no means to remove ads with an in-app purchase. Nguyen has no plan to change that. “I want to make an ads-based game because it is very common in the Japanese market — minigames are free and have ads,” he says. “Flappy Bird has reached a state where anything added to the game will ruin it somehow, so I’d like to leave it as is.”
If you haven’t tried it yet, Flappy Bird is available on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch for free. Download it in the App Store today to see what everyone is talking about.