Flappy Bird Developer Knows He ‘Got Lucky’

Based in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nguyen Ha Dong reveals he has no secrets for success. Is this an untapped opportunity for old, hard games?

In an interview, Nguyen Ha Dong reveals details about the success of the mobile viral of the day, Flappy Bird. As he puts it, he was completely lucky.

Nguyen and his game company, .GEARS, are experiencing unprecedented success, because his two other games, Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block, are both at the # 2 and # 6 slots on the Apple Store, making it the 1st time one game company, and one developer, has had this many games on the Top Ten.

Nguyen, apparently based in Hanoi, Vietnam, makes games that evoke the 8-bit era, not only using the same sprite-based graphics, but its mechanics, and the implicit difficulty. Contrary to what fans claim, Nguyen says he has made his games beatable. The key thing is to make them not too hard or too fast.

Here’s the deal with Flappy Bird. It’s a few years old, was preceded by four other games, is not heavily monetized (ad-supported and completely free), and, as far as anyone can tell, its success could not have been predicted by anyone, much less Nguyen.

Nguyen is the first to admit he has no idea how the games could have gotten popular. He even points out most of the people playing are kids in schools, and ends by giving his thanks to this newfound audience.

Perhaps Flappy Bird is a sign that old, hard games have an untapped market, even though these games are abundant on traditional consoles as well as mobile devices. It’s a case study even the likes of Rovio and Nintendo could find enviable, and worth their time to study.