Flappy Birds: Too Addictive?

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

In an interview exclusive with Dong Nguyen, Vietnamese creator of the Flappy Bird App, he reveals that the game is permanently dead.  Released to the public in May 2013, Nguyen shares that it’s never coming back. Why? The game turned addictive for so many people.  Nguyen explains that he coded the game in only a few days and initially created the game to play for short spurts of time while the person was relaxed. It instead was causing the opposite reaction for people: people were becoming addicted and neglecting other parts of their lives to play the game. 

He thought it over carefully before deciding to remove the game from the app store. In the end, he felt guilty that his game was causing others to abandon important areas of their lives. Because of this, his life was not comfortable and he couldn’t sleep. He added that after removing the game, he could sleep better and was able to disconnect from the Internet for a few days to catch up on needed rest.  Thankfully, Nguyen realized the addictive nature of the game and decided to shut it down for the best interest of players worldwide. However, he has still been able to cash in his earnings for a huge amount. It’s estimated that he was making up to $50,000 a day in in-app advertisements. Wow!  (1)

After removing the game, gaming addicts went nuts. There were even death threats made on Twitter. It’s well known that in Nguyen’s home country of Vietnam, there are very high numbers of gaming addicts. In fact, Asian countries as a whole have very serious problems with gaming addiction and when their “source of the high” is taken away from them, they will act out. In Asia, game addicts have been known to act out very violently, so death threats aren’t uncommon. There have even been several stories in recent years about murders related to gaming addiction.  (2)

Gaming and technology addiction is very real. Do you think Nguyen did the right thing by removing the game for good? 


1.Nguyen, Lan Anh. “Exclusive: Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Says App ‘Gone Forever’ Because it was ‘An Addictive Product.’” Forbes. Published February 11, 2014. Accessed online February 15, 2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/lananhnguyen/2014/02/11/exclusive-flappy-bird-creator-dong-nguyen-says-app-gone-forever-because-it-was-an-addictive-product/

2.Custer, Charles. “The Removal of Flappy Bird and Game Addiction in Asia.” Forbes. Published February 11, 2014. Accessed online February 15, 2014.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ccuster/2014/02/11/the-demise-of-flappy-bird-and-game-addiction-in-asia/


By Brooke Strickland and Andrew Doan, MD PhD