It was never meant to be so addictive. That's the only explanation for why Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen chose to pull the free game, claiming that while he'd intended it to be a distraction for the few minutes spent waiting for a bus, in-between classes, or in other short periods of downtime, it turned out to be far more demanding to the attention than that.
"Flappy Bird was designed to play in a few minutes when you are relaxed" Nguyen told Forbes. "But it happened to become an addictive product. I think it has become a problem."
For some developers, it would be a problem they'd love to have. Flappy Bird had moved to the top spot for free titles both in Apple's App Store and Google's Play market, spawning a host of copy-cats in the process as well as unofficial versions for platforms Nguyen wasn't supporting, like Windows Phone.
It was also pulling in a huge amount of money through in-game advertising. Reports last week suggested $50,000 per day; "I don't know the exact figure," Nguyen says, "but I do know it's a lot."
Despite the success and the money, it's the unexpected addictiveness which Nguyen claims gave him the most concern. "To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird" he says he concluded. "It's gone forever."
That also explains his decision not to sell the game, despite many requests; killing off the bird for the last time has also removed his lingering guilt at having created the app. "I don't think it's a mistake," Nguyen concluded. "I have thought it through."