Flappy Bird: A game changer for Vietnam’s developers

When 29-year-old Hanoi-based game developer Nguyen Ha Dong uploaded his game Flappy Bird to the Apple and Android App Stores, he never dreamed how much it would change his life. To his utter surprise, and later despair, the game was wildly successful. It rapidly shot to the top of the international best-selling lists on every app store and at one point the young developer was thought to be making $50,000 a day from his game.


Sadly the attention and fame thrust upon him was too much for Nguyen Ha Dong and he curtly announced on Twitter that he would be removing the game from stores. Even that wasn’t enough to quite burst the Flappy Bird bubble however, as the sudden withdrawal of the game only served to boost its popularity. Suddenly fans of the game were taking to the internet in search of phones with Flappy Bird still installed. The unforeseen demand meant that sellers were able to demand sums of up to $90,000 for their phones on eBay. iPhones and iPads with the game installed can still be purchased on eBay for anything from £100 to £1000.

Despite being still fairly new, the games industry in Vietnam has grown to be the second largest in Southeast Asia with profits for 2013 thought to have been more than $250 million. Though mostly dominated by gaming company VNG who hold 60% of the market, Vietnam’s games industry is seeing a rapid rise in independent developers like Nguyen, perhaps hoping to replicate some of the Flappy Bird success. The popularity of the game has shown independent developers and smaller companies that there is a way to stake their claim on a large section of the market. Coupled with the growth of the 3g network across asia and the thirst for everything online including gambling from website like M88 Vietnam. Asia’s gamign and gambling market is booming!

Some experts however, believe that Flappy Bird’s success was a mere fluke. They claim that the resources are simply not there for smaller, independent developers to produce the sort of world-class games that have the ability to appeal to international markets. Producing such games is expensive, too expensive perhaps for developers not employed by one of the large companies such as VNG.

Regardless of the nay-sayers, Flappy Bird remains as one of the most successful games in app store history. Rumours that it is soon to return to smartphones around the world can surely only serve to encourage other Vietnamese developers to keep striving for the same levels of success.