Todor Pichurov

Flappy Bird Proves Runaway Hit on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android Store

by Todor Pichurov February 4, 2014
4GOOG_chart.pngMobile games are well known for their ability to go viral and spread like wildfire. The most recent example is the performance of a little game called Flappy Bird. The title managed to climb to the number one free spot on the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG, GOOG message board) Android store days after its launch.

A big hit on the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) app store as well, Flappy Bird was made by a small indie dev team from Vietnam. The game was ported to Android and released on GOOG's platform only recently, with Distimo analytics tracking it since Jan 22. According to chart data provided by Distimo, in that amazingly short span of time, the game has managed to top the free download charts on both the AAPL app store and on GOOG's Android store.

Flappy Bird is the very definition of simplicity - players need to tap the screen to keep a pixellated bird afloat and flapping its wings, navigating it through a series of increasingly convoluted gaps in the scenery. The one-button gameplay and the lo-fi graphics are obviously a hit with casual gamers who love to be punished by the game's severe difficulty and short sessions.

Curiously, on Android, the game is free and has no in-app purchases to boot. While it obviously cannot challenge the revenue generating capabilities of mastodons like King's Candy Crush Saga, it's still a refreshing sight to have several titles by a small independent developer in the iOS top charts. Several other games from Flappy Bird's dev surged in popularity following its freak success and landed in top ten lists as well.

GOOG_distimo.pngAs Pocketgamer dot biz pointed out, what the Flappy Bird success story tells us about the immediate future of mobile is both encouraging and somewhat disconcerting. It's great to see some new proof that the top spots are not forever locked by Clash of Clans and Candy Crush but it also shows that mobile is still largely unpredictable and making it to the top is very much a gamble, with no way to predict or determine what the next big hit might be.

While the usual suspects will likely soon return to their top spots in mobile app charts, the success of Flappy Bird may mean a more fluid mobile game market in 2014 with more opportunities for smaller studios to make their mark.

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