Monday, February 3, 2014

Why I think Flappy Bird has done so well

Promoting an app, a service or any other content organically is tricky business. While paid campaigns tend to ensure reach and visibility, 'virality' comes from the users/consumers - they HAVE to genuinely like it for it to go viral.

For this reason it is always a good idea to work on your game dynamics - make it fun and addictive. Flappy Bird is doing well primarily because only ONE person worked on the game and put his heart into it. Now people can't help but return to the game over and over again, perhaps in an attempt to challenge themselves.

The game has occupied the number 1 spot on both iOS and Android app stores the past week, even though it has been uploaded since May last year. It seems its following got that critical mass that pushed the game into viral mode.

Flappy Bird Rank History
The gameplay is extremely simple - simply tapping the screen makes the bird fly. Yes that's right, the birds are flying in a manner similar to Angry Birds, and if you take a look at the pipes in higher levels, you might experience stronger waves of nostalgia hitting you back from the good old days of Mario World.

I think the Flappy Bird is rather ugly, but yay pipes!
Dong Nguyen, the Vietnamese guy behind Flappy Bird has been pretty busy with people calling in for interviews and sundry. Given that he does incorporate some standard advertising in the app, I hope he is starting to make some cash. Maybe a next step after this initial success would be to add some in-app purchases to increase his earnings. That way he might have some extra dough to spend on advertisements to try to prolong the lifespan of his game's virality and become bigger.

But first, he must integrate Game Center into the app (he says it's coming soon in the next update) so that players can at least see where they stand. If the game continues to do well, there's room to add social media plugins as well, especially for Facebook, but the server costs can add up so he must be careful in making this consideration.

Flappy Bird is a great example of keeping it simple and focusing on user-interaction. #TeamDong now has the opportunity to incorporate some feedback and improve the game in terms of graphics and design as well. Just continue following your philosophy to keep it simple in terms of graphics as well to keep the size of the game low in your future updates.
I am rather proud of my high score. Post your screenshot if you beat mine!

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