Flappy Bird
A report suggests Flappy bird creator Dong Nguyen didn't remove the game of his own free will, but was forced to do so by Apple and Nintendo.

The hit smartphone game Flappy Bird was not removed from Apple's App Store following a complaint of copyright infringement by Nintendo - despite reports to the contrary.

According to a source who spoke to the Apple'N'Apps website, Vietnamese-based developer Nguyen was forced to remove the app from Apple's App Store after Japanese gaming giant Nintendo got in touch with Apple "regarding the art assets in Flappy Bird claiming that they're in direct violation of their copyrights."

However IBTimes UK contacted Nintendo and a spokesperson for the company said: "Nintendo have not contacted [Apple] about taking [Flappy Bird] down."

When Nguyen announced on Twitter the very specific 22-hour countdown to the removal of Flappy Birds from app stores, it seemed a little incongruous that the reason for the surprise decision was down to the unwanted attention ruining his "simple life" - as the Vietnamese developer claimed.

It was odd for three reasons:

  • One: If the unwanted emails and tweets were ruining his life, could he not simply delete his social media accounts, change emails and therefore continue to enjoy the reported £30,000 the app was generating for him each month?
  • Two: If he was going to remove the game why not just do so immediately, why wait 22 hours?
  • Three: If there was not legal problem with the game, why not sell it for a huge amount of money and therefore reap the financial rewards without the headache of unwanted attention?

The reason some people have argued that Nintendo could ahve contacted Apple was the similarity of the pipes which are used in the game, through which you have to try and guide the eponymous bird and the pipes which appear in Super Mario games.

As you can see below, they use practically identically colours, design and even shading as the iconic green pipes which Mario used to travel around his game universe.

Compare Flappy Bird Pipes with Super Mario Pipes
On the right the original pipes from Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. games and on the left the pipes from Dong Nguyen's Flappy Bird game. Kotaku

Nguyen specifically said on Twitter on Saturday night after he announced the 22 hour countdown that the reason he was taking the game down was "not anything related to legal issues".

IBTimes UK has contacted Dong Nguyen for a comment but at the time of publication he has not responded.