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Study: one-third of new iOS game submissions are 'Flappy Bird'-alikes

updated 01:32 am EST, Fri February 28, 2014

Original developer plans to introduce new titles to App Store

Despite efforts by Apple to prevent some of the more brazen clones of the popular-but-pulled iOS game Flappy Bird, a recent sampling of new iOS games released in a 24-hour period has revealed that one-third of them are either direct clones with different artwork and names, or at least use the same gameplay mechanic to the point that they are obviously borrowing the concept.

Flappy Beard Hipster
Flappy Beard Hipster's Quest

According to report from UK newspaper The Guardian, 95 of the 293 games studied by the paper were direct or indirect copies of Flappy Bird, with titles like Buffalo Wings, Flappy Beard Hipster Quest, Flappy Bee and more. The latter game was actually pulled by Apple over its use of stolen artwork assets from the original game, but was returned to sale after it removed the stolen artwork and changed the title back to the original name (Jumpy Bee).

The original game Flappy Bird hit upon a simple concept that players found overly addicting: a genuinely difficult maze and coordination-challenging, retro-style casual time-killer that offered unlimited lives to try, try again. Users became so addicted to the game that the developer, Doug Nguyen, pulled it voluntarily from the App Store, saying its success and the enormous feedback from users had taken a toll on his previously "simple, quiet life." Those who originally had a copy of the game can continue playing it; such is the interest in the game that iPhones with the game installed have been spotted for sale as high as $1,200.

Tappy Bieber
Tappy Bieber

Since the game was pulled, and endless series of clones with the word "Flappy" or some similar derivative have flooded Apple's app submissions, to the point where the company is no longer automatically dropping any title with word "Flappy" in it. The maker of rip-off clone Flappy Bee hinted to The Guardian that his title had been making over $10,000 a day -- the original game was generating $50,000 per day in ad revenue alone before it was pulled.

For his part, Flappy Bird creator Nguyen says he has no plans to return the game to production in the foreseeable future. He does, however, indicate that he wants to develop and distribute new game apps for future sale. In the meantime, fans who want to get the Flappy Bird experience continue to have plenty of wanna-be candidates to pick from.

by MacNN Staff



  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    I think we've been Flappy Rick Rolled.

  1. trenchcoat77

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-22-03

    I want Fappy Kate Upton on my iPhone.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    It's not like steering a character through obstacles is a new game concept, but...

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Well it sure took flight

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