Flappy Bird creator returns with Swing Copters game

Bloomberg News

HANOI, Vietnam – Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen, who pulled that mobile game from the market because he said its popularity was ruining his life, released a new game on Apple and Google online stores called Swing Copters.

In the new app, users tap a smartphone screen to direct a character wearing a propeller headpiece flying vertically and navigating swinging, hammer-like obstacles. The title is similar in design and feel to Flappy Bird, in which users made a bird fly horizontally through gaps in pipes to score points.

Dong Nguyen shot to fame after Flappy Bird jumped to the top of rankings charts and removed that game from stores in February, writing in a Twitter post that the title “ruins my simple life.” Ouriel Ohayon, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist and co-founder of Appsfire, estimated the title had earned at least $20,000 a day and as much as $50,000.

“The challenge is to come out with an even better product,” Lam Nguyen, Ho Chi Minh City-based country director at International Data Corp., said in a phone interview Friday. He believes the developer, after some time out of the spotlight, is more prepared now.

Without no marketing, Flappy Bird was a global sensation, becoming the No. 1 free Apple iOS app download in 137 countries, according to App Annie, an analytics and marketing service. It was the top free Google Play download in 33 countries.

Dong Nguyen couldn’t immediately be reached on his mobile phone and didn’t immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.

Flappy Bird’s instant success, which relied solely on a developer’s clever ability and the global platform app stores provide, inspired young Vietnamese technologists, Lam Nguyen said. It was also a wake-up call to government officials to support independent developers, he said. Vietnam lacks the kind of technology ecosystem common in Silicon Valley, where innovators can easily find financial support and guidance for their new ideas, Lam Nguyen added.

In February, Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology started a five-year, $200 million project to promote innovation and new technology companies, Vietnam News reported. The government’s goal is the creation of 5,000 science and technology companies by 2020.

Dong Nguyen wasn’t prepared for the success and rapid growth of Flappy Bird, according to Lam Nguyen.

“It was, ‘Wow,’ then too many complaints. So he shut it down,” he said.

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