Google is shooting down apps that imitate the highly successful The Flappy Bird. The wildly successful game may have died. but the phenomenon and its imitators are forcing Google to reject new imitators of the highly successful original. The company has not confirmed it, but reports are that Google is not allowing new apps that use “flappy” in the title. Apple’s IOS App store is reportedly doing the same.
One developer whose game was rejected was told that his app name, which included the word Flappy, attempted to leverage another popular app which could be misleading to users. The Flappy Bird is no longer available as a game, but several games with the Flappy name on the market as well as look-alike games that do not include Flappy in their name. A search on Google today showed Flappy Pig, Flappy Flying, Flappy Fish, Flappy Wings, Flappy Football and countless others. It appears that Google and Apple may be trying to limit how many Flappy Bird clones are out there.
The Flappy Bird game was a simple looking, notoriously difficult game developed by Dong Nguyen that became the a huge success in in recent months and was the most downloaded free game out there. The game featured a 2D bird which the user controlled as it tried to maneuver through breaks in pipes. Sounds simple? The game became wildly popular since its May 2013 debut, for its simplicity of design, but challenging play that kept gamers repeatedly amused.
In a surprising move, however, developer Nguyen pulled his game off the market recently. Nguyen told Forbes that he was unhappy that people found his game, which was netting him $50,000 a week, to be addictive and some could not stop playing it.
The Flappy Bird success unleashed numerous imitators with similar sounding names. However, it is believed one reason Google and Apple are shooting down flappy clones, is that some of the innocuous-looking, imitation apps came with malware. One type of embedded malware found in flappy games sent text messages from the smart phone the game was being played on to premium numbers. The phone owner was in the dark about the activity until receiving a phone bill with the charges. Another malware set up a pay wall requiring users to pay to continue playing what had been a free game.
There is a need to balance quality control with allowing the independent developers, like the one who created Flappy Birds, access to sell their products. The market is huge and, as Nguyen found, lucrative with mobile downloads now reaching the mid-tens of millions. So, it is only natural that a string of imposters try to cash in on popular games. However, there is more or a need for Google to be more restrictive in its approval policies and curating for its App Store, which is more of a minefield than Apple’s store, according to Forbes. To protect consumers, Google needs to begin shooting down “crappy” apps, not just “flappy” ones.
By Dyanne Weiss