App phenomenon Flappy Bird, which was the most downloaded free app in 137 different countries on Apple devices and 33 on Google Play, has been pulled by its creator and the world is up in arms.
Vietnam-based programmer Nguyen Ha Dong, who according to some reports has been making $50,000 a day off the home-made game, said he could no longer take the hassle that went hand in hand with a global app hit.
Yet removing Flappy Bird from sale, much like Cartmanland's "you can't come" sales pitch in South Park, has only fanned the flames. Phones with the game already installed are selling online for as much as $94,000 and the demand shows no sign of abating.
However, maybe Nguyen got his tactics wrong. Instead of giving his app a solider's death, perhaps he'd be better off sucking the life out of Flappy Birds the same way as every other money-grabbing dev. Read on for the T3 guide to ensuring that Flappy Bird truly flaps its last wing.
1. Add in-app purchases
Nothing can hit your game's reputation like a bit of unashamed money grabbing, and Flappy Bird's brutally hard task makes it ripe for a bit of line jumping. How about a paid-for Pipe Warp bonus that sucks you up and spits you out later down the level? At the very least it would irritate the 'you ripped off Nintendo' brigade.
2. Introduce resource management
Sod purity of simple game structures, what the world really wants is another app with tonnes of different little chores to multi-task simultaneously. Wind speed, lung capacity, feather health - all must be carefully nurtured to progress (or just paid for, obviously)
3. Release a seasonal sequel - and then pull it again
Twice the wings, twice the fun in Flappy Bird: Migration Panic. In App Stores now... for a limited time only – before it flies away for winter, obviously
4. Sell merchandise
Pixelated smartphone cases, pipe-based tablet holders and plush toys that are weighted one end so fall ridiculously fast when you drop them. Nothing will make people more sick of your product than milking it endlessly with ever-diminishing creative returns.
5. Sell the rights
Kill off the game's indie cred once and for all by putting it in the hands of a major app farm, to plaster with unappealing extras. Also means Dong Nguyen can change his name and address, put his feet up and let someone else field the hate mail. Making it unnecessarily hard won't be easy, seeing as it already is, but movie tie-ins are but a short reskin away. First stop: Disney presents Flappy Bird: Frozen.
While this course of action might crush Nguyen's credibility, it could just make Flappy Bird the biggest game in the world, and its creator the richest. Maybe his original plan was right after all…