Nfld. & Labrador

Flappy Bird lovers in N.L. footing huge bill for app

A mobile app called Flappy Bird made big waves when it came onto the market, but people have been paying a huge price tag for the game since its creator discontinued it.

St. John's online classifieds advertise Flappy Bird-enabled devices for up to $5,000

Mobile app Flappy Bird was a huge sensation in 2014, but demand has increased since the creator of the game pulled it from the digital market earlier in February. (CBC)

A mobile app called Flappy Bird made big waves when it came onto the market, but people have been paying a huge price tag for the game since it was discontinued by the creator.

More than 50 million people downloaded the game before it was pulled off the market by creator Nguyen Ha Dong.

The notoriously difficult game has created a massive fandom, and has become one of those things people love to hate.

Stephen Ryan said he became addicted to the game immediately after he started playing it.

"I remember hearing that ‘ding’ sound, whenever you get past one of the pipes. My girlfriend was playing it and I went, 'Oh what's this? It's the new thing, let's give it a try,'" Ryan said.

"And ever since then, whenever I'm looking at my phone waiting for a text, I'll go play some Flappy Bird."

Flappy Bird-enabled devices costing big bucks

Since the game was removed from the digital market, people have been advertising smartphones — with the Flappy Bird app installed — for purchase online for thousands of dollars.

In St. John's, posts up on Kijiji, an online classifieds website, advertise Flappy Bird-enabled smartphones for up to $5,000.

Justin Penney, owner of iDoctorNL, an electronic repair company, said spending that much money just for a used device just to have a certain app isn't worth it.
Justin Penney, owner of iDoctorNL, says footing huge bills just to get a mobile device with Flappy Bird installed is definitely not worth the money. (CBC)

"It will be under their account so you won't be able to sync it to your own account. The only thing you're going to be able to do is you're not going to be able to get service, you're just going to be able to play the Flappy Bird game," he said.

Penney said there is also some cause for concern to the person selling the device.

"Someone could hack into your account, use your account to buy other things if you have passwords on your email accounts or credit cards, stuff like PayPal — there is a danger there."

Penney said he's not a big fan of the game himself, but certainly has reason to appreciate its popularity.

"It's really good for my business since people get so frustrated with the game they just end up throwing their phones across the room," he said.

He recommended people who really want to play the game purchase an older smartphone, and find a friend who already has the app and install it on their used device.


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