“Flappy Bird” Demand

“Flappy Bird”, a popular mobile game, was taken down by its creator over the weekend. From CNN.com:

“Flappy Bird” has flown the coop.

The addictive game that soared to the top of iPhone and Android app downloads disappeared from app stores on Sunday, though players who already have it apparently can keep on flying.

…Although new players can no longer download “Flappy Bird”, the game remains playable for those who had already added it to their devices.

A secondary market has emerged yesterday, with entrepreneurs willing to part with their “Flappy Bird” installed mobile devices — for some pretty high prices:

Several auctions have popped up on the online marketplace eBay featuring iPhones that included an installed copy of “Flappy Bird”, which was removed from app stores by its developer after it skyrocketed to the top of the Google Play and Apple App Store.

Some listings for the smartphones feature bids reaching hundreds and thousands of dollars, including one with a top bid of $99,900. We’ve reached out to eBay to determine whether this listing and some of the other high-price auctions are legitimate.

So these sellers obviously understand scarcity and supply. But the better question is: what is the demand for “Flappy Bird”?

(HT: AL)


The Register already pointed out about how silly this is, especially for an Android device owner.



The first thing I thought of was 1) that's not all that's on the phone or 2) someone needed to move money. But then again, maybe some people just though it would be funny to jack up the auction price to ~$100k


My question is as follows: Given that the devices are being marketed as including the "flappy bird" game, could the developer sue for royaltys from any revenue made off of these "flappy phones"? In the app dev world how does that work? Do intellectual property rights or copyrights apply? Or does the developer sign away any financial rights as soon as they place their property on the app stores? I would think the latter would apply here, but if that is case, how can the developer make the decision to remove it from the app stores? Or does ownership of the property transfer to the end user as soon as it reaches their device?


There is a court case on this! And a fantastic podcast on planet money: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/04/05/176335511/episode-449-the-hidden-digital-wealth-in-your-pocket


Excellent! Thank you for that!


A possible explanation for the demand: reverse engineering.
Given the possible revenue emerging from such an addictive game, there is a big incentive to create a copycat of the original game. And if you want to develop your own "flappy bird", it may makes your life easier to get your hand on the original game in order to reverse engineer it. If it's the case given the 50000$ revenue a day i have seen in papers, the top bid may not be that crazy.


Since used smartphones normally have very little value, clearly the developer had a business plan in which he first bought up boatloads of old smartphones, then created an addictive game which he loaded on all these used smartphones, then pulled the game from the market.

Now he sells the smartphones at a huge profit, and buys a really nice hat.


Ebay auction current bids or closing prices are NOT legitimate. Just something outrageous that news organizations pick up on and use to further a narrative. I can create a fake account and bid anything I want. I think we all know the answer Ebay is going to give to that... it's NO.


There are also many versions to play online, e.g. http://www.crazygames.com/game/flappy-bird


Flappy Jorney, almost the same as FlappyBird, besides you will be able to play on different planets.




the auctions are fake, pushing up prices fishing for one or two people that will actually buy at those prices ... very common practice

fake paypal accts by the bidders, seller reports non pmt to avoid paying commission