In this series I Can’t Believe It Sold (or ICBIS for short) I will highlight some of the crazy things I have found that have managed to sell on eBay. From Britney’s chewing gum to Celebrity Supercars if it’s strange and unusual I will seek it out and present it here for your viewing pleasure. You never know you may have one of the things that has sold for thousands and want to cash in yourself.
This week, the trend that took the world by storm…
What is Flappy Bird? If you don’t know, where have you been? Flappy Bird is an annoyingly addictive game where the entire object is to guide a bird through a never ending series of Super Mario style pipes without hitting them. It sounds really simple and it is, but it’s oh so hard too and that’s part of it’s appeal. It takes only seconds to learn the basics, but days to become a master.
What’s all the fuss about?
The fuss centers around the creator, Dong Nguyen’s decision to remove the game from the App Store at it’s peak of popularity. He announced the decision on Twitter on 8th February 2014.
I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.
— Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014
I like to picture Dong doing “Air Quotes” when he says “Flappy Bird”. And after that announcement, much like the rush to acquire an artist’s work on news of their death, the rush to download the game before it was taken away was huge. Then it was gone. Forever according to Dong.
Despite the game being free to download in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store it featured ads which appeared during the game in the form of pop ups at the top and bottom of the screen, these didn’t really detract from the playing experience but were rumored to be making the game’s creator Dong Nguyen over $50,000 a day!
But despite this, according to an exclusive interview he gave with Forbes, he states that he pulled the app because it was “Addictive”. I suppose his thinking was akin to cutting off players who lost hours of their life to the game, like when smokers and drug users go cold turkey? But surely as a games developer the whole point of making is game is so that IT IS addictive?
The result of all of this?
Once the app was pulled, people started putting their phones and tablets on eBay, with Flappy Bird already installed. This works because even though the app has been pulled if you already have it downloaded then it’s yours! And buyers have been bidding in their droves to hike up the price of some devices.
A quick check of eBay’s completed items shows some surprising results. I however, am extremely cynical of these, I don’t believe that anyone who won those auctions actually followed through and paid for them. Especially with the following logic:
If you liked the game enough to pay £100,000 – £1,000,000 for a phone with it on, wouldn’t you already have it downloaded? And if you’d never played the game before, I’m sure no one would pay so much based on hype alone.
If you check the completed listings on eBay yourself you can see that things have got a little out of hand.
eBay have actually started pulling the listings as it is a breach of copyright policy, and the terms of service state that mobiles and tablets should be wiped to factory settings before being sold, so if you have Flappy Bird on your phone, do yourself a favor and keep it and don’t list getting a listing violation strike on your account! As I am a bit of an eBay geek I have checked feedback for some of these items and haven’t yet been able to find feedback from a seller confirming payment has been made. However completed listings in eBay denote sales and so “I can’t believe it sold”!
If you still would like your Flappy Bird Fix there are several clones out there you can download and try out to see if they give you the same buzz, in fact 8 of the top 20 Free games in the Apple App Store as of February 12th 2014 are Flappy Bird Clones. So flap on and come back next week to see what else has sold on eBay. Or even better subscribe to the blog so you are automatically informed when a new post is launched.