Published on February 20, 2014 | by Sophie Smallshaw


Students unable to cash in on Flappy Bird craze

Screen shot of the flappy bird game

The app, which was created by Vietnamese games designer Dong Nguyen in May 2013, had ranked over 50 million downloads. [Tom Setterfield]

Cash-strapped students have been left disappointed after online selling platforms withdrew their listings of smartphones and tablets installed with the popular but short-lived app, Flappy Bird.

The app, which was created by Vietnamese games designer Dong Nguyen in May 2013, had ranked up more than 50 million downloads before Nguyen decided to remove the game from future app store purchases.

Using his Twitter account to make the announcement, he told fans that his decision was not related to legal issues, but because the success of the game had ruined his “simple life.”

“I am sorry Flappy Bird users. 22 hours from now, I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore,” said Nguyen, before adding that he would not be selling the game to any interested buyers.


Hannah Louise Grugel, a student at London Metropolitan University, saw the opportunity to sell her old iPhone 3S after a friend mentioned the growing demand on sites such as eBay and Gumtree.

“I decided to list mine as I didn’t really have a use for it anymore and could do with the extra money. I was shocked when it started to receive bids tripling the price, but within an hour or so my listing was removed,” she said

“I tried to list it a few more times, but each time I had the sale removed and was warned that further listing could result in me being banned. I was disappointed as it seemed a quick way to make profit,” Grugel added.


Whilst some listings, most notably on eBay, received bids of up to £150,000, it is unsure whether bids were genuine or if any users were able to make a profit from their sales.

EBay has noted that listing an item with the app installed is in direct breach of its policy, which states that smartphones and tablets, if sold, must be restored to their factory settings with all content deleted before sale.

Other online selling platforms such as Gumtree have yet to ban listings detailing the Flappy Bird software in the description, but LCF student Georgie Thorpe doesn’t see herself buying into the odd selling craze.

“I don’t think I could trust something like that. It’s crazy to think of someone buying an old phone for thousands of pounds because of a little game. I imagine it won’t be long before it’s made available again anyway. Piracy is seen as totally normal to young people today,” Thorpe said.

The game, which requires users to direct a cartoon bird through a series of pipes by tapping the screen, has resulted in a sudden surge of curiosity which has left users on a search for different ways to reach the game since the removal from Apple and Google app stores.

According to TechCrunch, both Apple and Google have cracked down on developers hoping to profit from the phenomenon by rejecting aspirant apps with the word ‘flappy’ in the title, although sites such as and offer users a free way of playing online.


Presented by: Valentina De Vito
Filmed and edited by: Mira Sadowska


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