Flappy Bird clones rise from its ashes
THE flap over Flappy Bird refuses to die down despite the untimely demise of the wildly popular game.
After developer Dong Nyugen pulled the game from mobile-app stores at midnight yesterday because it was "too addictive", a number of clones have been spawned. But some are not what they seem.
Some fake Android Flappy Bird apps that look exactly the same as the now-defunct app are malware that could cost users, Internet security firm Trend Micro said on a blog.
"All of the fake versions we've seen so far are premium-service abusers - apps that send messages to premium numbers, thus causing unwanted charges to victims' phone billing statements," mobile-threats analyst Veo Zhang wrote in the blog post.
The "Trojanised" Flappy Bird apps ask for permission to read or send text messages during installation, which was not required in the original version.
These fake apps are especially rampant in Vietnamese and Russian app stores, he said.
Mr Nyugen has spoken out after he took down the game, explaining that he did so for altruistic reasons.
"Flappy Bird was designed to be played in a few minutes, when you are relaxed," he said in an interview with Forbes. "But it became an addictive product. I think it has become a problem. To solve that problem, it's best to take down Flappy Bird. It's gone forever."
Still, the game has already made Mr Nyugen about US$50,000 (S$63,000) a day from in-app advertising, according to reports. He did not confirm the figure, saying: "I don't know the exact figure, but I do know it's a lot."
It has also made a name for Mr Nyugen, who was a virtual unknown just weeks ago.
For those with Flappy Bird withdrawal symptoms, he has other games in app stores like Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block. Plus, there are legitimate games out there that mimic Flappy Bird, without nefarious functions nested.